Cyberbullying Versus Face-to-Face Bullying: A Theoretical and Conceptual Review
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science / Child Health Promotion Research Centre
Cyberbullying has been described as a type of electronic bullying and has recently been subjected to intense media scrutiny largely due to a number of high profile and tragic cases of teen suicide. Despite the media attention relatively little is known about the nature of cyberbullying. This is, at least in part, due to a lack of theoretical and conceptual clarity and an examination of the similarities and differences between cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying. This paper reviews the limited theoretical and empirical literature addressing both cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying, using some specific examples from a qualitative study for illustration. We compare and contrast individual factors common to cyber and face-to-face bullying. We then examine social information processing factors associated with face-to-face bullying and present a discussion of the similarities and differences that may characterize cyberbullying.