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How might the findings described by your colleague be used to inform helpful strategies for teachers and parents dealing with an adolescent cyberbully
Cyberbullying is an intent to consistently harass another individual, causing harm via technology such as social media (Aronson and et al., 2019). Cyberbullying includes defamation, disclosure of private facts, and an intent to cause emotional distress. Social Dominance Theory (SDT) is the notion that people belong to either a dominant group at the top of the social hierarchy or a subordinate group at the bottom of the social hierarchy (Watts and et al., 2017). The two major components of SDT are gender and arbitrary set groups, along with social dominance orientation. Cyberbullies typically see themselves as belonging to the dominant group and “preying” on the subordinate group. This reinforces the behavior because they are targeting a group they consider weaker and would probably not engage.
Another reason for what is rewarding the adolescent-aged cyberbullying behavior is the anonymity cyberbullying gives bullies a sense of power and control that otherwise might not be present if they were face-to-face with their victims (Watts and et al., 2017). Also, the prevalence of cyberbullying in current news and media can be empowering to the individual because of the gained publicity; even if they are the only one aware that they are the bully. The bully is fueled by power and popularity that causes them to continue cyberbullying. By being able to “mask” who they are via social media platforms it can allow them to harass individuals without being “caught.”
Certain personality traits would predict future engagement in cyberbullying. One personality trait was aggression. Aggression is an intentional pain aimed at causing physical or psychological pain (Aronson and et al., 2019).