Traditional bullying and cyberbullying - What’s the difference?
We may be familiar with the word bullying but what about cyberbullying? Since both are bullying, what are the differences?
Before we look into the differences, let us first have a general understanding of what bullying is. The Cambridge online dictionary defines bullying as “someone who hurts or frightens someone else, often over a period of time, and often forcing them to do something that they do not want to do:” 1
Bullying can be physical, verbal, or emotional in nature, and it can take place in a face-to-face setting or even online(cyberbullying)2. In any form of bullying, the offender would often threaten or act in aggression to hurt, frighten or cause harm towards the victim. Bullies know what they are doing and it is their intent to cause harm and pain to the victim.
The act of bullying often happens repeatedly and it usually causes severe effect on its victim. Victims of bullying or cyberbullying may experience similar effects such as depression, anger, changes in eating or sleeping pattern, loss of interests in activities which used to be enjoyable.
Differences between traditional bullying and cyberbullying
Sense of safety and power of anonymity
The internet gives power of anonymity as the identity of the bully or offender is masked and protected behind the screen. As such, because of the sense of safety and protection the internet provides, the offender worry less about having to face real-life consequences as compared with face-to-face bullying.
Cyberbullying can happen anywhere at any time
Digital communication device such as a mobile phone or computer and an internet connection is all that is needed for someone to cyberbully. It can take place over a text message, an offensive comment on social media, or sharing of private information of others without their consent. It can be done any time and anywhere unlike traditional bullying which is usually done face-to-face.
Evidence of cyberbullying can circulate on the internet
Unlike traditional bullying which usually takes place with fewer witnesses and is time-limited, incidents of cyberbullying can be easily shared and exposed to a wide audience with the use of internet. Information that has been uploaded online can also be challenging to remove which can cause long-term harm to the victims. Information that has been shared online can go viral and it will be difficult to be completely removed.
Both traditional bullying and cyberbullying causes negative impacts and it is important for victims to know that it is never their fault it has happened to them. If you are or you know someone who has been affected by online bullying, help is available and you do not have to walk alone.
Our counsellors are available at https://help123.sg/ClientChat/Chat to have a chat with you to understand and help you through your concern.