Definition and properties

Definition and properties (Pisano, Saturno, 2008 Pisano, 2014)

To call the aggressive actions and deliberate, persistently carried out by electronic means (sms, mms, photos, video clips, e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, phone calls), by a single person or a group, with the deliberate aim of hurting or damaging a peer who can not easily defend themselves, was recently proposed the term “cyberbullying” (Patchin, Hinduja, 2006 Smith, 2007 Willard, 2007).

Unlike what happened in traditional bullying in which the victims got home, they found, almost always, a safe haven, a place that protected them from hostility and harassment from classmates, in persecutions cyberbullying may never end . The cyberbullies, leveraging technology, no longer bound by time limits (the duration of the school day) and geographical (the physical presence of students in a given place), they can “infiltrate” into the homes of the victims, stalking them, 24 hours 24 with messages, images, video offensive, the effects of which are amplified compared to traditional bullying.

It should be added that, if the off-line bullying the bullies are students, classmates or institute with whom the victim has built a relationship, the cyberbullies can be strangers or persons known to pretend to be anonymous online or soliciting l ‘ inclusion of other “friends” anonymous, making it impossible for the victim to trace the identity of those with whom they are interacting. In addition, the perception of invisibility and anonymity alleged, because we remember that each computer or mobile phone leaving a trace during operation, stimulates the cyberbullies high dis-inhibition as to manifest behaviours that in real life probably would avoid show.

Recall, in this regard, that in traditional bullying is more common to find an average dis-inhibition, prompted by the dynamics of the class and by the mechanisms of moral disengagement (Sutton and Smith, 1999; Bandura, 1986, 1990, Bacchini, 1998).

Responding fully to the modern narcissistic logic that dictates the importance of the show and talk about himself at all costs, it can also, however, happen that cyberbullies decide to become visible (think of how many publish on a blog, video, images written offensive against classmates or teachers, perhaps asking surfers to comment on and rate them). In both cases, however, the visibility or invisibility, lack of tangible feedback from the victim – “I can not see you!” (Willard, 2007) – hinders the empathic understanding of the suffering much more than what happens in traditional bullying, where bullying, for a cold self-interest (Mealey, 1995; Fonzi, 1999), the need to dominate in the report, does not pay attention to the experiences of the student harassed, but has a clear awareness of the effects of their actions.

Clarified the relationship between cyberbully and cyber-victim, deepen, now, the role of the audience (Salmivalli, 1996), those students, that is, assisting the harassment online and that – unlike what happens in traditional bullying which are almost always present encouraging and instigating the conduct doers of the strongest – in cyber bullying may be absent, present, knowing the victim or ignore its identity. If present, they can assume a passive role (if only detect, in their E-mail, SMS, Chat, cyberbullying directed to others) or active (if downloading – download – material, report it to your friends, comment on the and the vote), becoming, in fact, of the soldiers of the cyberbully or cyberbullies themselves. The active contribution can be provided at the request of the cyberbully same – voluntary recruitment – or, at the push autonomous, that is, without having received specific and express requirements – involuntary recruitment – (Pisano, Saturn, 2008).

With regard to the stabilization of the social role played by the student, some research (Ybarra and Mitchell, 2004) have shown that while the bullying only the bully, the gregarious and the bully-victim (victim provocative) act bullying, cyberbullying in, anyone, also who is the victim in real life or has a low social power, it can become a cyberbully.

And ‘well, however, point out that Raskauskas and Stoltz, in a 2007 survey, have found that many cyber-victims are also victims of traditional bullying and many cyberbullies are also bullies in real life, putting, therefore, questioned the initial thesis Ybarra and Mitchell. Finally, important differences between bullying and cyberbullying, there are the ability to “advertise” the oppressive behaviour: while the actions are generally told to bullying other students of the school in which they occurred or the facts to friends attending neighbouring schools, it being, in fact, quite limited in space, the material related to cyberbullying can be spread throughout the world and, above all, is indelible: what is posted on the internet is not, in fact, easily erasable.

We add, then, that even when the offensive material is not loaded in the network (update), however, the cyberbullies can, through free programs “peer to peer”, transfer on line, allowing, people known and unknown, to operate download from your computer. Possibilities that make it increasingly difficult, currently we would say impossible, to combat the problem.