What Is Cyberbullying?

The Internet is a wonderful tool that has made it easier for people to connect with each other, as well as pursue higher education. However, it has also made it easier for people to bully others. When people commit cyberbullying, they use electronic devices -- like computers, cell phones and tablets -- to hurt and torment their victims through behaviors like posting private information online to humiliate them, sending hurtful and vulgar messages, and making threats.

The word "bullying" may make this sound like a problem exclusive to teenagers and younger college students. However, this issue is more common among adults than some may realize. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of adults have experienced some kind of cyberbullying.

Continue reading to learn more about cyberbullying in college, including the types of cyberbullying people engage in, how it affects victims and what can be done to stop cyberbullying.

Identifying Cyberbullying

Although most people are familiar with what face-to-face bullying looks like, many are not as well-versed with cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a complicated issue, and as such it's important for everyone to understand how cyberbullying manifests itself, who is vulnerable to it, and how it affects victims.

The following are answers to some common questions that people may have about cyberbullying.

What are the types of cyberbullying?

The term "cyberbullying" can be used to describe several types of online behaviors. Here are a few examples of the most prominent kinds of cyberbullying people may engage in.

What are the signs of cyberbullying?

When someone has been the victim of cyberbullying, there are often clues to let others know that something is wrong. For example, people who have been cyberbullied often act nervous when they need to go online or text someone. In addition, victims may not want to discuss their online activities, and can get agitated at the mention of things like social media. As this situation continues, it can cause the victim to withdraw from people in the real world, so they may not want to spend time with their friends and family anymore.

What are the effects of cyberbullying?

Students who have been the victim of cyberbullying may respond to it in different ways. The following are some examples of the effects that cyberbullying may have on people.

Who can be the victim of cyberbullying?

While anyone can be the target of a cyberbullying attack, there are some common traits that link many of these situations together. In many cases, people who commit cyberbullying go after those who they consider weak. For example, people who seem socially awkward or shy may give off the impression that they won't fight against being bullied, which makes them a prime target for bullies to go after. It is also common for cyberbullies to decide to attack someone based on how they look or what their background is.

Reacting to Cyberbullying

People who have been cyberbullied may be confused and uncertain of what they can do to handle the situation. The following are some do's and don'ts that can help people know how to react when they have been the victim of these behaviors.

Colleges Combatting Cyberbullying

As it becomes a growing problem for college students, many schools have worked to determine how to stop cyberbullying. The following are examples of schools working to combat this problem.

In addition to these schools, there are several colleges and universities that are dedicated to combatting cyberbullying through administrative policies. For example, Regis University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Northwestern State University and the University of Arizona have anti-bullying policies designed to protect their students.

Cyberbullying Resources

Cyberbullying is a serious issue that online students should educate themselves on as much as possible so they know how to handle it if they become subjected to these types of behaviors. The following are some resources that can help.