Why Do People Cyberbully?

Cyberbullying happens for many of the same reasons as any other type of bullying, but it may be even more appealing because it can be done anonymously. Stopbullying.gov describes two kinds of people who are likely to bully: those who are popular and those who are on the social fringes.

Popular kids or teens may bully because:

  • They see it as a way to stay popular.
  • Hurting others makes them feel powerful.

Kids or teens who are less socially successful may bully because:

  • It helps them cope with their own low self-esteem.
  • They think it will help them fit in with their peers.
  • They have trouble empathizing with those they hurt.

In general, bullies’ behavior usually stems from their own problems. Stopbullying.gov reports that bullies tend to have less involved parents, to be less excited about school, and to be depressed or anxious. They often have trouble controlling their emotions and impulses and find it hard to follow rules.

Here are some additional reasons people may do their bullying online:

  •  Anonymity—Cyberbullying allows bullies to avoid facing their victims, so it requires less courage and provides the illusion that bullies won’t get caught.
  • Ignorance of the consequences—The National Council on Crime Prevention reports that in a survey of teenagers, 81% said they believe others cyberbully because they think it’s funny. Because they don’t see their victims’ reactions in person, cyberbullies may not realize how much damage they are doing.
  • Social pressure—Some cyberbullies may think their behavior is normal and socially acceptable, especially when friends egg them on.