Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Committee Chair and Members
Maureen Nappi, Chair
Bullying, Cyberbullying, Digital, Harassment, Online, Social media
The digital world of social media that we’ve all become familiar with by now, has taken over social networking sites (SNS) by storm—such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. We use these online platforms today as a medium to communicate digitally to people all over the world—from friends, to family, loved ones, or even just to meet new people. While that may seem like a vast majority of what the Internet looks like today, there’s still that whole other realm of darkness that haunts people who have been victimized, threatened, intimidated, humiliated, and harassed. The Internet is a world, you think, where actions have no consequences, where guilt is cloaked by anonymity, where there are no fingerprints (Rosewarne, 89). These types of behaviors are the main source of online harassment for perpetrators stalking their victims online. With our personal data being more exposed online depending on our search history or even by what is posted online, these same technologies that are built for us to communicate with each other allows for other people to listen in on our private conversations. As a result, our privacy is being exploited by governments for mass surveillance and by corporations to make mass profits, or in other words, surveillance capitalism. Surveillance capitalism describes a market driven process where the commodity for sale is your personal data, and the capture and production of this data relies on mass surveillance of the internet. This activity is often carried out by companies that provide us with free online services, such as search engines like Google and social media platforms such as Facebook (Holloway, 2019). In essence, the more access and control these companies have on our personal information, the more control and power these online perpetrators have on our privacy. If we are in control of our own privacy, we are in control of ourselves and actions. When our privacy is compromised, we lose that control we have on ourselves. Our privacy is important to us, so we must do what we can to regulate our control on it. According to StopBullying.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cyberbullying is defined as bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior (stopbullying.gov). Cyberbullying victimization has also been associated with low self-confidence and self-esteem in teens, with name-calling and rumor spreading being the most common forms of harassment (Anderson, 2018). With that being said, 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online, and a similar share says it’s a major problem for people their age. At the same time, teens think mostly teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing at addressing this issue (Anderson, 2018).
Jean-Baptiste, Christian, "Cyberbullying: The digital world of awareness and emerging concerns" (2021). Selected Full-Text Master Theses 2021-. 28.