The Anonymous World of the Internet

Course excerpt from Cyberbullying

Traditional bullying – pushing a smaller child into a locker at school, for example – can only be done in person. In the anonymous world of the internet, however, a person’s size does not matter. Everyone is the same size online. Kowalski (2014) notes that people will do things anonymously they would never do in person. The opportunity for anonymity widens the pool of potential cyberbullies. Bullies are no longer just the big kids in the class; anyone can be a cyberbully.

the anonymous world of the internet

Vandebosch (2008) found that most cyberbullies reported they worked anonymously or disguised themselves. Their victims were mostly people they knew personally. The authors state that the anonymity of the internet and mobile phones, along with technology knowledge, empowered those who otherwise would not have become bullies and might be victims of bullying themselves. The cyberbullying victim often reported that anonymous attacks were frustrating and led them to feel powerless. In fact, knowing who was behind the action made it easier to cope with the content and decide how to react. Sometimes the victim would have a clue to the bully’s identity due to writing style or the content of the message. Sometimes another person told the victim who the bully was, and sometimes the bully revealed herself to the victim.

Anonymity has the added negative effect of removing the bully’s ability to see the victim’s reaction. Sometimes seeing the reaction and knowing they have hurt the person will make the bully stop the behavior. But the cyberbully may not see a reaction, and loses the chance to feel empathy and remorse for the victim (Kowalski, 2014). This may lead to further attacks.

Click here to learn more.

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

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: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!