For a long period, cyberbullying has emerged as a developing phenomenon. People have used technology such as chat rooms, text messages, and emails to create an aggressive message with repeated physical and psychological oppression along with the abuse of power to cause distress. Such an attack can be direct or indirect.
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Direct attack or overt hostility involves causing physical harms to others through insult, stealing, assaults, taunting, and physical fight. Conversely, indirect aggression aim at damaging and manipulating members of peer relationships through propaganda, gossip, and exclusion from other groups. As a result, different scholars have contentious views concerning the influence of gender on cyberbullying. Some believe that cyberbullying is related to genders while others have controversial opinions.
Li (2006) surveyed students to investigate the effects of gender differences on cyberbullying within the school. According to the study findings, Li found that males were more bullied and cyberbullied than their counterpart female students. Similarly, female victims of cyberbully showed a high likelihood of reporting cyberbullying than males. These findings led Li to the conclusion that cyberbullying is related to gender identity.
Using the empirical study, Li focused on two issues while exploring the effects of gender on cyberbullying. The first focus was to examine experiences of cyberbullying across gender differences of randomly selected students in Canada. Secondly, the study aimed at investigating the perceptions of male and female students concerning the schooling environment. According to the results of the study, no significant difference was reported on sex proportions between those who reported having bullied. However, male students revealed less probability of reporting bully and cyberbully incidents to adults than female students. Also, no significant difference was found across genders concerning the frequencies of cyberbullying experiences. Besides, 64.1% of students recounted that adults in schooling climate attempted to halt cyberbullying activities only after being informed (Li, 2006). From the exploration of bullying, cyberbullying, and victimization, this study establishes that gender difference significantly influences cyberbullying.
In another study conducted by Williams, and Guerra (2007), boys were found to be more victims of bullying than girls. However, no sex disparities were found in cyberbullying, a finding that leads Williams, and Guerra into a conclusion that cyberbullying is not related to gender. Findings concerning the prevalence of bullying penetration propose that distribution varies across verbal, physical, and internet bullying. Verbal bullying was reported being prevalence while internet bullying was the least. The study empirically examined the three bullying predictors. The first predictors investigated the moral acceptability of bullying. The remaining two predictors reflected youth’s perceptions concerning the context of participation and the kind of peers they interact with online. From the highlighted predictors of various types of bullying, findings from this study recommend for preventive interventions to impact the popular bullying types. Williams and Guerra suggest that normative perception regarding the acceptability of bullying be changed.
From the above analysis, it is apparent that the two studies have contrasting conclusions concerning the impact of gender on cyberbullying. Lin’s research finds that gender plays a critical role in influencing cyberbullying. In this case, the proportion of males who fall victims of cyberbullying is higher than that of females. Surprisingly, more men than women also choose not to report incidents of cyberbullying to adults. On the other hand, although males are found to be more vulnerable to bullying, no significant difference between sexes is found concerning the vulnerability of cyberbullying. Due to the controversial findings, more empirical research should be conducted to establish the reality concerning whether or not gender influences cyberbullying.
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