3. Cyberbullying

Social media sites have tremendous value and potential for learning, socializing, leisure and development of young people. However, they are not always healthy and problem-free environments. Some potential challenges include interference with cognitive processes such as attention, memory, information processing and emotional processing, “Facebook depression”, sexting, exposure to inappropriate content and cyberbullying.

In this chapter, we will be focusing specifically on cyberbullying as one of the most problematic aspects of social media and communication technology. We will be thinking about how having fun online needs to come with responsibility. Social networking can often be just one click away from cyberbullying. The key to decreasing cyberbullying among young people is to ‘think before they click3, especially as just one click has the power to change someone’s life forever.

The first section of this chapter will define key terminology connected to cyberbullying. An overview of what research tells us about cyberbullying and how it works is followed by information on key risk factors and protective factors. Finally, we will list a few guidelines for addressing cyberbullying and legal considerations that we must keep in mind when working in school contexts.