Cyberbullying is defined as intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. Cyberbullying is also not accidental or random, and those who engage in it choose their victims carefully – those with less perceived power.
In the first large scale study of a low-tech, high-harm form of online harassment known as doxing – which involves collecting and publishing sensitive personal information to exact revenge, seek justice, or intimidate victims – researchers from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and the University of Illinois at Chicago found that the primary motivations for cyberbullying are revenge or justice (Snyder et al., 2017).
It is perhaps not surprising then that another study done by researchers at The Pennsylvania State University found that youth cyberbullying was dramatically more likely to occur between current or former friends and dating partners than between students who were never friends or in a romantic relationship (Felmlee et al., 2017). As Diane Felmlee, a professor of sociology at Penn State explained, “The large magnitude of the effects of close relationships on the likelihood of cyberbullying, even after controlling for many other factors, was particularly surprising” (Felmlee, 2017).
The psychological effects of cyberbullying are no less concerning. Children involved in cyberbullying are much more likely to also view web content containing self-harm and suicide (Gorzig, 2016) and develop substance abuse and internet addictions (Gamez-Guadix et al., 2013). Further, a review of cyberbullying found that it has been consistently associated with an increased likelihood of depression (Hamm et al., 2015).
Cyberbullying is also increasingly common as children now have access to a wide variety of social media platforms – from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat, websites, forums, and blogs – where communication and harassment are immediate means of imposing deliberate harm on others.
For clinicians, it almost goes without saying that cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern, and knowing how to identify it, what causes it, and what strategies can be used to prevent or manage it are essential skills in today’s social media reliant world.
Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:
Cyberbullying is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults. Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse. This course will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying. Course #21-09 | 2016 | 32 pages | 20 posttest questions
Stalking: Recognizing and Responding is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the prevalence of stalking and provides therapists with the means to identify and assist victims/survivors. Stalking is a crime that is far more prevalent and more dangerous than most people realize. It is a crime that is not well understood and that often goes unrecognized. Findings from various studies examining the prevalence of stalking suggest that community-based interventions are critical to raising awareness about this crime and promoting prevention efforts. Mental health professionals have an important role in identifying and treating victims/survivors of stalking through educating themselves about this crime. Researchers have found that stalking victims have a higher incidence of mental disorders and comorbid illnesses compared with the general population, with the most robust associations identified between stalking victimization, major depressive disorder, and panic disorder. Additionally, intimate partner stalking has been identified as a common form of IPV experienced by women veterans that strongly contributes to their risk for probable PTSD. These findings indicate that it is important to assess for these symptoms and diagnoses when working with victims/survivors of stalking. This course is designed to enhance your understanding of stalking by reviewing key findings from research on stalking, identifying common tactics used by stalkers, and exploring the intersections between stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence. This course will also examine common reactions experienced by victims/survivors of stalking and discuss ways to assist victims/survivors in clinical practice. Course #11-17 | 2018 | 18 pages | 10 posttest questions
Suicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies so that healthcare professionals are informed on this complex subject. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions
These online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!
Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Target Audience: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapist (MFTs), Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), School Psychologists, and Teachers