Cyberbullying A Bully Centered Intervention Program Psychology Essay

Cyberbullying, an emerging trend of bullying in its unprecedented technological form, has fast become a social issue that warrants immediate intervention. However, current literature has offered mostly intervention strategies that focus on the treatment of the victims, rather than the rehabilitation of the cyberbullies. Such victim-centric intervention program, while helpful, does not appear to be an effective strategy in tackling cyberbullying. This review provides an overview of the cyberbullying problem by focusing on its (a) definition; (b) modus operandi; (c) perpetrators and (d) theories. These findings form the foundation for the recommendations of the bully-centric intervention program. The recommended intervention program serves to complement existing victim-centric interventions to effectively manage the cyberbullying problem. Finally, this review concludes by highlighting plausible limitations and future directions of the recommended intervention program.


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Traditionally, bullying involves the harassment of others using physical means (Guerin & Hennessy, 2002). However, over the decade, traditional bullying has rapidly evolved into a new form through technological means. Cyberbullying, a term coined by Bill Belsey (2004), has fast become a global phenomenon that warrants immediate attention. Studies put together have evidenced that cyberbullying is increasingly prevalent, especially in schools, as close to 25% of students have been found cyberbullying (Dehue, Bolman & Vollink, 2008; Li, 2006; Hinduja & Patchin, 2008). Worryingly, this trend is expected to worsen with increasing ubiquity of technological devices among students.

The adverse consequences of cyberbullying on victims have been well documented by many researchers. In fact, an emerging body of research has proposed that the impact of cyberbullying is even more detrimental than traditional bullying (Belsey, 2004; Scheneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). This is because researchers have found that cyber-victims, compared to traditional victims, have a significantly higher risk of drug overdose and suicidal tendency (Dooley, Pyzalski & Cross, 2009; Holt, Finkelhor & Kantor, 2007a). Considering the severity of the cyberbullying, an effective intervention program is not only necessary, but critical in the management of this prickly problem.

Accumulated findings have revealed that current cyberbullying intervention programs are predominantly victim-centric, which focus largely on the treatment process for cyber-victims, and how individuals can protect themselves from being cyber-bullied. Examples of such intervention programs include “Don’t Suffer in Silence strategy” (DfES, 2002), “Prevention Curriculum for Cyberbullying” (Kowalski & Agatston, 2009), and “Four step process: Stop, Save, Block, and Tell” (Snakenborg, Van Acker, and Gable, 2011).

While the abovementioned victim-centric programs have its merits, its effectiveness in eradicating cyberbullying is largely limited by its failure to focus on the root of the problem, which is the cyberbullies themselves. Therefore, this highlights the need for a bully-centric intervention program that can effectively tackle cyberbullying head-on. Such bully-centric approach serves to complement existing victim-centric intervention programs in the effective management of the cyberbullying problem. More importantly, it also serves to treat the underlying causes of the cyberbullying behaviours, which could otherwise lead to other problematic behaviours as well.

Therefore, the objective of this review is to recommend a bully-centric cyberbullying intervention program, which focuses on both the preventive and treatment aspects. However, before the recommendations, it is imperative to have an in-depth understanding of the cyberbullying. Therefore, this review also aims to provide an overview of the cyberbullying problem, by focusing on four main aspects (a) definition of cyberbullying; (b) modus operandi of cyberbullying; (c) profiles of cyberbullies and (d) explanations of cyberbullying behaviours. These findings serve as the foundation for the recommendations of the intervention program.

Cyberbullying defined

To date, a standardised operational definition of cyberbullying has not been agreed on. Nonetheless, most of the existing studies have identified three major conditions to be met in order to define an action as cyberbullying. First – the malicious intent to harm. Second – impact on victims is more psychological and emotional in nature. Third – repetition of online behaviours. However, the ‘repetition criterion’ is debatable considering the ‘permanence’ nature of some types of technological means, such as website postings, that may be online for a long period of time. As such, even a single aggressive action, posting on the website, could be devastating enough to the victims due to the ‘permanence’ of the action. Besides, if the ‘repetition criterion’ is defined by the frequency the postings have been viewed or forwarded, then viewers are equally guilty of meeting the ‘repetition criterion’.

Cyberbullying has been proposed to be an evolved version of traditional bullying (Li, 2005). However, it is presumptuous to assume that cyberbullying is a direct replacement of traditional bullying. This is because other researchers (e.g., Raskauskas & Stoltz, 2007; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004a; Ybarra et al. 2007) have provided substantial evidence to suggest that cyberbullying can be more accurately seen as an extension of traditional bullying. In other words, technological means simply become an extension of ‘traditional schoolyard’ for bullying occurrences. As Li (2007) has aptly summed it “Cyberbullying is another form of traditional bullying using 21st century technologies”.

Since cyberbullying has been argued to be an extension of traditional bullying, this suggests that the core characteristics of traditional and cyberbullying could display some similarities. Indeed, comparisons between studies have revealed that the intentions remain the same, as both forms of bullying are intended to humiliate, threaten, and to cause helplessness in victims (Strom & Strom, 2005). Furthermore, like traditional bullying, power imbalance also exists between cyber-victims and cyberbullies. However, power exists in different forms for both types of bullying. For traditional bullying, victims are usually physically weaker than their perpetrators. For cyberbullying, physicality plays a lesser role. Instead, victims are usually less technologically gifted than their perpetrators.

Modus operandi of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying behaviours are carried out via technological tools. The technological tools may include mobile phones, e-mail, website postings, instant messaging (IM), internet chat rooms, social networking sites and blogs. These tools, while seemingly innocuous, can be potentially misused for cyberbullying purposes. For instance, mobile phones and e-mail can be used to send threatening messages to harass the victims. Phishing can occur in internet chat rooms whereby victims can be tricked into sharing sensitive information, which then leads to the exploitation of that information (Englander, 2011). Social networking sites can similarly be misused as a platform for posting humiliating photos and videos of victims.

However, with technological advancement over the decade, it is likely that some technological tools are more popular for use than the others. Indeed, findings from Slonje and Smith (2008) have confirmed that cyberbullies are increasing switching to social networking sites and website postings, rendering tools like mobile phones and e-mail obsolete. It is evident that cyberbullies are getting increasingly sophisticated in their choice of technological tools, as social networking sites and website postings can comparatively lead to more psychological damage due to its permanence and publicly viewable contents.


Even though, cyberbullies are primarily responsible for the engagement of cyberbullying behaviours, the cyber-bystanders deserve mention as well. Technically, any individuals who witness the cyberbullying behaviours are considered cyber-bystanders (Cross, Monks, Campbell, Spears & Slee, 2011). Often, the mere presence of the cyber-bystanders is enough to exert some degree of emotional blow to the victims. This is mainly due to victim’s awareness that their humiliation has been witnessed by the cyber-bystanders. Victims in their adolescence are especially vulnerable to such psychological traumatisation due to their heightened self-consciousness and preoccupation of ‘imaginary audience’ witnessing their victimisation (Elkind & Ginsberg, 2007).

Indifferent attitude among the cyber-bystanders also indirectly leads to the continuation of cyberbullying. The cyber-bystanders’ indifference could be aptly explained by the bystander effect (Latane & Darley, 1968). Essentially, this social psychological phenomenon refers to situations where individuals’ likelihood to help is in inverse relation to the number of bystanders. Explanatorily, the wide breadth of audience in the cyberspace leads to diffusion of responsibilities, and eventual indifference among the cyber-bystanders. While indifferent bystanders can play an indirect role in the continuation of cyberbullying, other bystanders could take on a more directive role by forwarding the malicious content to other people, even with the full understanding of its detrimental impact on the victims. Considering their direct contribution to the victims’ harassment, the latter group of cyber-bystanders may also be considered cyberbullies.

Profiles of cyberbullies

This section aims to provide descriptions of the cyberbullies, in terms of their age, gender and typology. The profiling is useful to identify individuals who are at risk of engaging in cyberbullying behaviours. With this understanding, a targeted intervention can be developed to prevent and reduce the occurrences of cyberbullying behaviours.


Based on existing literature, age is an important factor in cyberbullying behaviours (Kowalski & Limber, 2007; Moody, 2001). However, current studies have revealed mixed findings, and have yet to reach a consensus on which age group is most vulnerable to develop cyberbullying behaviours. Slonje and Smith (2008) have proposed that upper primary school students are most at risk to cyberbully. Tokunaga (2010) further extended on their finding, and proposed that middle school students are equally at risk to engage in cyberbullying behaviours. Contrastingly, Beale and Hall (2007) provided anecdotal evidence to suggest that high school students are most likely to cyberbully. Several reasons that can be attributed to explain these mixed findings include differences in sample population, size and research design. Despite the mixed findings, one shared conclusion among the researchers is that students, in their adolescence, are most at risk to develop cyberbullying behaviours.

There are several explanations why students are most vulnerable to develop cyberbullying behaviours, they are as follows. First – students in their adolescence are typically less socially mature than adults (Frisen, Jonsson, Persson, 2007). As a result of their lack in social maturity, they have a higher tendency to engage in socially irresponsible behaviours, like cyberbullying. Second – young students tend draw a less distinctive line between aggressive and non-aggressive behaviours (Monks & Smith, 2006). Thus what is considered as cyberbullying behaviours may be deemed otherwise. This offers a possible explanation for the Inadvertent’s cyberbullying behaviours. Third – cyberbullying behaviours are possible mechanisms for students to explore the relatively unchartered concept of social hierarchy in schools (Pellegrini & Bartini, 2002). Exploitation of the digital tools, which allows students to dominate others, strengthens their quest to climb up the social hierarchy in schools. Fourth – students in their adolescence are especially susceptible to peer influence (Lounsbury, 2000). Explanatorily, students who are acquainted cyberbullies are more likely to be influenced into cyberbullying as well. As such, students’ cyberbullying behaviours can be due to negative peer influence. Last – young students are particularly prone to the ‘invulnerability fallacy’ (Sternberg, 2003). As a result, they tend to exaggerate their self-importance, and believe that they can do whatever they want, and get away with it. This could explain the students’ tendency to engage in reckless and self-asserting acts, like cyberbullying.


Current literature, that attempts to investigate which gender is more at risk developing cyberbullying behaviours, have revealed mixed results. Empirical studies put together have presented two main themes of findings.

One group of researchers (e.g., Blair, 2003; Kowalski, Limber & Agatston, 2008; Mason, 2008; Thorp, 2004) have postulated that cyberbullying behaviours are more commonly observed in females. This could be because females are more inclined to engage in covert (Graig, Pepler & Atlas, 2000) and psychological form of bullying (Huang & Chou, 2010). Similarly, cyberbullying allows females to operate covertly and to inflict psychological pain on their victims. Besides, females may feel more comfortable executing their bullying behaviours via online mediums than males, as they tend to communicate more regularly on mediums like internet chat-rooms and e-mail (Thorp, 2004).

On the contrary, another group of researchers (e.g., Bhat, 2008; Dilmac, 2009; Li, 2005; Wang, Iannotti & Nansel, 2009) proposed that males are more likely to display cyberbullying behaviours. Since traditional bullying, which has been predominated by males, is widely supported to be the precursor to cyberbullying (Raskauskas & Stoltz, 2007), it would be logical to assume the predominance of males in cyberbullying as well. Furthermore, males’ preference in covert tools like the internet for their bullying behaviours can be explained by their preferred communication style, which is typically less direct (Tannen, 1990).

Based on the above findings and explanations, it is clear that cyberbullying behaviours are neither observed only in males or females. Rather, it is evident that both genders are equally capable of engaging in cyberbullying. Therefore, it is suggested that both males and females are equally at risk of developing cyberbullying behaviours. Interestingly, the finding’s revelation of an equal involvement of females in cyberbullying is in sharp contrast to existing bullying literature that evidenced the insignificance of female involvement (Olweus, 1993; Whitney & Smith, 1993).


Aftab (2008) has categorised the cyberbullies into four main types based on their motives and characteristics. They are the (a) Inadvertent; (b) Vengeful Angel; (c) Mean Girls and (d) Power Hungry. The categorisation of the cyberbullies is useful to understand the motivational and operational differences among the cyberbullies (Trolley, Hanel & Shields, 2006). With this understanding, intervention program can be tailored for different types of cyberbullies based on their specific needs. However, Aftab’s typology should be used with caution as it is more anecdotally than empirically supported.

The inadvertent. This group of cyberbullies is also commonly known as the indirect cyberbullies (Deno, 2003). Aftab argued that this group is the most innocuous among the cyberbullies because they usually lack the malicious intent to victimise others, and their online behaviours are more reactive than proactive. As a result, they usually do not perceive themselves as cyberbullies (Aftab, 2008; Trolley, Hanel & Shields, 2006).

The Vengeful Angels. This group usually consists of individuals who are past victims of traditional and/or cyberbullying (Sontag, Clemans, Graber & Lyndon, 2011). As the name suggests, the Vengeful Angels are typically vengeful as they seek to exert revenge for their past victimisation. This may explain the reactive nature of their online behaviours. Their past victim status are often due to their lack in physicality and popularity. Consequently, their offline revenge plan may be hindered by these disadvantages. However, the irrelevance of such disadvantages in the cyberspace setting allows the Vengeful Angel to carry out their revenge plan with ease.

Mean Girls. As the name suggests, this group of cyberbullies operate primarily in an all female ensemble. They typically engage in cyberbullying for ‘fun’, and feed by admiration from group members and the audience (Aftab, 2008).

Power Hungry. Due to their advanced technological skills, the Power Hungry’s unfulfilled sense of power is often satisfied and effectuated by their technological ability to manipulate and exploit the cyberspace, like creating of online hate polls and hacking into their victim’s online account. As their sense of self-importance depends on the positive reactions of other people, the Power Hungry tend to brag about their cyberbullying involvement. Similar to Mean Girls, this group is proactively aggressive and their aggressive online behaviours are typically pre-mediated and controlled. Other than cyberbullying, this group usually engages in traditional bullying to satiate their incessant need for power. Cyberbullies who also engage in traditional bullying are commonly referred to as combined aggressor (Smith, Mahdavi, Carvalho & Tippett, 2006).

Explanations of cyberbullying behaviours

The rather unexplored scholarly field of cyberbullying has offered very limited explanations for cyberbullying behaviours. The current cyberbullying explanations include (a) succorance (b) empathy (c) general strain theory. However, it is presumptuous to assume that there are no other explanations for cyberbullying behaviours. Due to the close similarities of both traditional and cyberbullying, in terms of the motivation and intention (Hinduja & Patchin, 2008; Strom & Strom, 2005), existing bullying theories may offer valuable insights and contributions in the understanding of cyberbullying behaviours as well. Four plausible cyberbullying explanations include (a) biopsychological theory; (b) differential association theory; (c) social learning theory and (d) labelling theory. This section serves to discuss and evaluate both the current and plausible explanations of cyberbullying behaviours.

Current explanations

Succorance. Succorance refers to the search for care, support and affection from other people (Brody, 1997). It was proposed by Dilmac (2009) to be a psychological need that cyberbullies crave. A separate study conducted by Walker, Sockman and Koehn (2011) has further confirmed the positive relationship between succorance and cyberbullying behaviours. Despite the empirical evidence, both research studies failed to fully explain the relationship between succorance and cyberbullying. One possible explanation is that individuals whose affection needs are not met offline turn to cyberbullying in order to garner support and attention from the cyber-bystanders. In other words, these individuals may turn to cyber-bystanders for attention and support via their cyberbullying behaviours.

However, the above proposed explanation contradicts the finding of Vandebosch and van Cleemput (2008) who concluded that attention from other people will, in fact, dissuade cyberbullying behaviours. This is because the cyberbullies would prefer to carry out their acts in an anonymous manner without attracting attention. Considering this contradictory finding, it appears that the succorance explanation does not apply to all types of cyberbullies. Since the Power Hungry and Mean Girls’ cyberbullying behaviours are mainly motivated by the positive reactions from the audience (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004), the succorance explanation is seemingly more applicable for these two types of cyberbullies.

Empathy. Broadly, empathy refers to the comprehension and sharing of other people’s feelings (Epstein, 1972). Current research studies and meta-analyses have strongly supported the negative relationship between cyberbullying and empathy level (Ang & Goh, 2010; Nickerson, Mele & Princiotta, 2008; Steffgen, Konig, Pfetsch & Melzer, 2011).

A separate study conducted by Aoyama, Brak and Talbert (2011) extended on this finding by proposing that de-individuation could also explain cyberbullying behaviours. De-individuation is defined as the lessening of normative behaviours and cognitive decision making which lead to undesirable outcome (Festinger, Pepitone & Newcomb, 1952). Due to the covert and distant nature of the cyberbullying medium where users’ abilities to witness the impact of their action are compromised, users may grossly underestimate the adverse impact of their behaviours (Suler, 2001), which eventually results in deregulated behaviours, like cyberbullying. Englander and Muldowney (2007) have aptly described this phenomenon as the “online disinhibition effect”.

The Reduced Social Cues (RSC) model proposed by Siegel and McGuire (1984) complements the explanation suggested by Aoyama et al. (2011). The RSC model put forth that technological use result in less direct feedback of the user’s online behaviours. This could then result in the deficiency in empathy and sensitivity level of the users, and eventually causing deregulated online behaviours.

In sum, the explanation offered by Aoyama et al. (2011) complemented by the RSC model, assumes that people unintentionally cyberbully due to their attenuated empathy level caused by the lack of insight of their online behaviours. However, a study conducted by Juvonen and Gross (2008) contradicted this explanation. In their study, close to two thirds of the cyberbullies understood what they were doing, and the consequences of their actions. Their finding clearly shows that cyberbullying behaviours can be intentionally executed with the full understanding of the detrimental effects. The researchers further explained that people with low empathy level engage in cyberbullying behaviours due to the anonymity afforded by the cyberspace. Evidently, the ‘lack of insight’ explanation by Aoyama et al is not applicable to Juvonen and Gross’s finding.

The abovementioned empathy explanations offer two distinctive views on why people cyberbully. Perhaps, the explanation offered by Aoyama et al. (2011) is more appropriate to explain the cyberbullying behaviours of the Inadvertent. This is because, unlike other cyberbullies, the Inadvertent often lack the malicious intent, and their unintentional behaviours could be most aptly explained by their lack of insight. The second explanation offered by Juvonen and Gross could be more useful in explaining the behaviours of the Vengeful Angels. Unlike the other cyberbullies, this group is most likely to understand the ramifications of their cyberbullying behaviours due to their own victimisation experience. The covert and anonymous nature of the cyberspace makes it especially enticing for this group to execute their revenge plan.

Jolliffe and Farrington (2004) has further suggested the differential role that cognitive and affective empathy play in cyberbullying. Briefly, cognitive and affective empathy refers to the ability to understand (Hogan, 1969), and experience (Epstein, 1972) other people’s emotions respectively. Studies conducted by Feshbach (1987) and Shechtman (2002) have displayed strong evidence to suggest that affective empathy plays a more influential role in traditional bullying. On the contrary, studies conducted by Crick (1995) and Joinsen (1998) may have suggested that cognitive empathy play a more important role in cyberbullying. This is because their findings have revealed that people with lower level of cognitive empathy are more likely to engage in relational and indirect bullying. Since cyberbullying can also be classified as relational or indirect aggression (Berger, 2007), it could be argued that lower cognitive empathy contributes more significantly to cyberbullying behaviours. However, this argument is contested by Almedia, Marinho, Esteves, Gomes and Correia (2008) as they suggested that both types of empathy play an equally important role in cyberbullying.

Ang and Goh (2010) took these issues into consideration. Their results supported the suggestion put forth by Jolliffe and Farrington (2004) that both cognitive and affective empathy play a differential role in cyberbullying behaviours. However, the argument that low cognitive empathy is more influential in explaining cyberbullying behaviours is only partially supported. This is because the argument is found to be only applicable for the male subjects. In their study, more cyberbullying behaviours were observed in male subjects with low level of cognitive empathy, regardless of their affective empathy level. By the same token, less cyberbullying behaviours were observed in male subjects with high level of cognitive empathy, also regardless of their affective empathy level. Clearly, low cognitive empathy plays an influential role in explaining cyberbullying behaviours in male subjects. However, for female subjects, low level of cognitive empathy does not always lead to more cyberbullying behaviours. This is because the repercussion of low level of cognitive empathy can be buffered by their high level of affective empathy. The female subjects are more likely to display cyberbullying behaviours only when their affective empathy level is low. Clearly, low affective empathy plays a more significant role in explaining females’ cyberbullying behaviours.

General strain theory. The general strain theory was proposed by Agnew (1992) to explain deviant behaviours in youths. Even though this theory was not originally developed to explain cyberbullying, several researchers (e.g., Hay, Carter & Meldrum, 2010; Moon, Morash, McCluskey & Hwang, 2009; Rivituso, 2012) have attempted to adopt the general strain theory as a theoretical framework to explain cyberbullying behaviours. According to Agnew (1992), three types of strains that an individual may confront include (a) failure to attain positive goals; (b) removal of positive stimuli and (c) exposure to negative stimuli. These strains subsequently give rise to negative emotions, and if unresolved, lead to deviant behaviours. Put another way, negative emotions mediate the positive relationship between strains and deviancy. Patchin and Hinjuja (2011) extended on Agnew’s proposition by suggesting that cyberbullying behaviours could reduce the negative emotions of individuals confronted with strains. As a result, individuals faced with strains may find cyberbullying appealing as such behaviours could provide some form of psychological relief for their frustrations (Ma, 2001).

In a study conducted by Hay et al. (2010) to investigate the applicability of general strain theory in explaining cyberbullying behaviours, it was found that the general strain theory is more applicable in explaining males’ cyberbullying behaviours. This is because unlike females who tend to exhibit internalising response to strains, like suicidal ideation (Agnew & Brezina, 1997; Hay, 2003; Piquero & Sealock, 2004), males are more likely to display externalising responses. Furthermore, males tend to possess less positive coping skills and social resources compared to their female counterparts. As a result, males are more likely to respond to their strains in a maladaptive manner, like cyberbullying.

In another similar investigation study conducted by Patchin and Hinduja (2011), the results of their study revealed that subjects who reported strain were more likely to display cyberbullying behaviours. Additionally, subjects who reported negative emotions like angriness and/or frustration were also more likely to cyberbully. However, unlike Agnew’s proposition, their study revealed that the negative emotions did not play any mediating role in the positive relationship between strain and cyberbullying behaviours. Instead, both strain and negative emotions, independent of each other, directly influence cyberbullying behaviours. One possible reason why Patchin and Hinduja failed to demonstrate the mediating role of negative emotions could be due to the cross-sectional nature of their data collection, where the variables of interest were all measured at the same time. Individual differences are harder to control for in a cross-sectional study (Mann, 2003). As a result, the desired relationship between the variables of interest may not materialise as expected. Similar to the findings of Patchin and Hinduja, an earlier study conducted by Mazerolle (1998) also failed to demonstrate the mediating role of anger in the relationship between strain and deviant behaviours. Instead, both strain and anger were found to be independently related to the deviant behaviours.

In a separate but related study, not only did Moon et al. (2009) fail to demonstrate the mediating role of negative emotions in the relationship between strain and cyberbullying behaviours, they also failed to find any significant relationship between negative emotions and cyberbullying behaviours. One possible explanation could be because the negative emotions measured in their study were trait-based rather than situational-based. Compared to situational-based emotions, trait-based emotions play a significantly less directive role in an individual’s externalising behaviours (Mazerolle, Piquero & Capowich, 2003). As such, this could account for the insignificance in the relationship between the trait-based negative emotions and the cyberbullying behaviours.

In sum, Patchin and Hinduja (2011) have demonstrated that negative emotions, similar to strains, can independently explain cyberbullying behaviours. These findings were similar to the findings of Mazerolle (1998). Contrarily, Moon et al. (2009) have evidenced that negative emotions play no part in explaining cyberbullying behaviours at all. Based on the above findings, it is clear that strains do contribute to cyberbullying behaviours. However, the role of negative emotions is less clear. Therefore, strains, rather than general strain theory, could be a better explanation of cyberbullying behaviours.

Even though Patchin and Hinduja (2011) have demonstrated that cyberbullying is a result of strains, they have also conducted other similar studies that demonstrated that cyberbullying could also be a source of strain by itself. In their earlier studies (Patchin &Hinduja, 2007, 2010), they found that students who had been cyber-bullied were significantly more likely to display cyberbullying behaviours, particularly towards their perpetrators. Other researchers like Hoobler (2010) and Rivituso (2012) had revealed similar findings. Ybarra and Mitchell (2004) proposed that cyber-victims who turn into cyberbullies, commonly known as Vengeful Angel, tend to have stronger needs to sanctions. Their retaliatory responses, in the form of cyberbullying behaviours, are ways for them to right the “wrongs” they suffered. Moreover, the protection and anonymity offered by the cyberbullying medium make it especially enticing for them to carry out their revenge plan.

However, Dombeck (2007) argued that not all individuals who experience strain of cyberbullying will turn into cyberbullies. Dombeck proposed the social maturity theory to support this argument. According to socially maturity theory, socially mature individuals, usually adults, deal with confronted strains in a socially responsible manner that is accepted by the society. As such, socially mature individuals who are cyberbullied are more likely to respond in a socially acceptable manner, like reporting to the authority. Suggestively, social maturity can be regarded as a protective factor against cyberbullying behaviours. This may also explain why cyberbullying behaviours are usually engaged by youths, who are usually less socially

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