Cyber victimization and psychosocial adjustment in youth

Susanne K. Long, Michael L. Sulkowski, Allison G. Dempsey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Cyberspace provides a new venue for peer victimization. Through using cyber technology (e.g., cellular phones, text messages, Facebook, etc.), aggressive youth or bullies can victimize others in a rapidly growing social environment that is difficult to monitor and even more challenging to regulate. In cyberspace, aggressive youth employ a variety of tactics to victimize their peers, including through direct harassment, denigration, impersonating others, outing/tricking others, flaming, and trolling. Through these tactics, aggressive youth can affect social relationships, exploit their peers, and gain social or psychological power over their victims. Further, an emerging body of research highlights the negative impact of cyber victimization on the psychosocial functioning of affected youth. For example, cyber victimization is associated with depression, social anxiety, substance abuse, school problems, and aggressive behavior. Cyber aggression may be particularly harmful due to its insidious nature. Cyber aggressors can mask their identities through creating false screen names or by impersonating another person. Thus, a victim may not know who an aggressor is or how to report him or her. Additionally, cyber aggressors can victimize their peers publically (e.g., in a chat room, a mass text message) or privately (e.g., through a personal email), which allows them to control how many bystanders witness their bullying behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPsychology of Victimization
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781614705055
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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