Offline bullying includes, for example, bullying, teasing and name-calling at school, while online bullying, or cyberbullying, takes place on the internet, through computers and mobile phones. Let’s consider the reasons why online abuse can cause even more damage, pain and suffering than face-to-face aggression!
The two forms of bullying have a common basis, but there are fundamental differences between them. Offline bullying among children and adolescents means teasing, name-calling and abuse at school. For online bullying, abuse occurs in a similar manner, but on the internet, through technological means, on social platforms, through chat services, by email, in blogs and vlogs. For example, embarrassing photos are posted of someone or sent out to their friends without the data subject’s permission, or harassing/threatening messages are sent from fake profiles.
Both forms of bullying involve repeated acts of a malicious nature with the intention of humiliating/degrading a schoolmate before a broad audience, for example, in front of the whole school. The burden on the victim, however, is different in that digital media environment creates new circumstances, potentially increasing the level of aggression and thereby its impact:
|Offline bullying||Online bullying|
|Occurs face to face, more limited in time||May stay with the victim 24 hours a day|
|It may be escaped; a loving home may provide protection and safety||It has no geographical/physical limitations; it cannot be escaped|
|There is a limited number of witnesses||A wider community or broader audience can easily become witness, even in a matter of seconds|
|The identity of the bully can be clearly established||In the online space, it is easy to hide behind a fake profile and this kind of anonymity may encourage the bully|
|The impact of the abuse is immediately apparent and perceptible||The impact achieved with a few abusive message or photo upload is not immediately apparent; bullies is often unaware of the damage/pain they cause|