Internet violence – Secondary harm, teenagers are the biggest victims?

What is cyberbullying?

In recent years, due to the rapid development of the Internet, network violence and network injury have become a common phenomenon. While the precise definition of cyberbullying remains a subject of ongoing discussion, it generally entails the exploitation of online platforms to intimidate, cause injury, cause shame, or socially isolate others (Ang, 2015). A prevalent manifestation of cyberbullying involves the malicious characterization of an individual’s social media photos or postings (Jones et al., 2013). Intentional damage inflicted via text or image transmissions via the Internet or other communication devices is also a component. Cyberbullying encompasses various forms of harassment and cyberspace manipulation, such as insulting, threatening, or embarrassing text or instant messaging (IM) exchanges; electronic stalking; password theft or social networking site (SNS) impersonation; dissemination of malicious rumors; transmission of threatening or offensive messages; and unauthorized disclosure of private information (Cohen-Almagor, 2018). Mobile cyberbullying is facilitated by mobile devices. Text-based cyberbullying is not an exception. Additionally, it may encompass the distribution of videos or photos that are sexual in nature (e.g., nude photos and videos shared via mobile phones), embarrassing or violent (e.g., footage of fights and assaults), or graphic (e.g., ranking the fattest or “sluttiest” students) in nature; and online death threats (Gerson & Rappaport, 2011).

The prevalence of cyberbullying among young people

A study conducted in 2008 and published by the Center for the Advancement of American Education found that among 22 high school students residing on the West side of Boston, 16.5% reported experiencing bullying exclusively within the school environment, while 6.4% reported cyberbullying exclusively. Both in-person and online, the rate was 9.4% (Cohen-Almagor, 2018).

In Europe, cyberbullying is an extremely significant issue. According to a study conducted in 2011 among European adolescents aged nine to sixteen who utilized the Internet, one-fifth reported experiencing pain or negative treatment within the previous year. Monthly, one in every twenty minors is subjected to cyberbullying. Multiple incidents of bullying have been reported by one in ten individuals over the past year (Livingstone et al., 2011).

Twenty percent of six to nine-year-olds in the United Kingdom who participated in a survey reported experiencing “aggressive or unpleasant” online behavior. This is because, according to the Daily Mail (2011), adolescents in the United Kingdom spend the most time on social networks of any country. The percentage is 25% in Spain (Daily Mail, 2011).

Twelve percent of European adolescents aged eleven to sixteen reported receiving annoying or hurtful messages in 2014. 21% of adolescents in Denmark report experiencing cyberbullying (Cohen-Almagor, 2018).

48% of female respondents to a recent survey of over 1,000 boys and girls aged 11 to 18 in the United Kingdom reported experiencing some form of harassment or abuse on social media (Cohen-Almagor, 2018). This included receiving distressing messages and having images shared without their consent. Seventy percent of 10,000 12- to 20-year-olds surveyed in a separate study acknowledged to engaging in online abuse, while seventeen percent reported being the target of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a source of anxiety for one in every three individuals (Wakefield, 2017).

Teenagers suffer from cyber violence.

The untimely death by suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons, age 17, in 2013 garnered significant media coverage both domestically and internationally, as well as broad public interest. Parsons, who was 15 years old at the time, attended a party where multiple boys purportedly sexually assaulted her. A photograph was captured during the purported assault, which depicted one of the boys penetrating Parsons from behind as he vomited with his head out the window (CBC News, 2013). Following the photo’s extensive dissemination on social media platforms, Parsons was subjected to harassment and allegedly “cyberbullying”; ultimately, she made the decision to terminate her life. Despite the absence of formal allegations of sexual assault, Parson’s case has gained significant recognition as an illustration of how images depicting sexual violence can be distributed digitally (Dodge, 2016). Parsons’ case has been likened to analogous occurrences in the United States that involved the dissemination of sexual assault images, which in turn incited cyberbullying on social media platforms (Shariff & DeMartini, 2015). The victims endure a traumatic experience each time these unflattering images are re-distributed on the Internet, and the venomous comments that persist perpetuate and amplify the distress caused by these sexual assaults. Parsons and Porter’s suicide was precipitated not only by the sexual assault itself, but also by the enduring psychological distress induced by the images and the cyberbullying that ensued due to their widespread distribution (Dodge, 2016). These young women are confronted not only with the consequences of experiencing sexual assault, but also with the persistent social media stigma and slander that ensue from the sharing of their sexual assault.

Who is responsible for the online abuse of teenagers?

  • Parents

Parents ought to monitor the online conduct of their children and impart knowledge to them regarding the prudent utilization of the Internet. 35.7 percent of parents have never supervised their children’s use of social network profiles, 51.9 percent have never monitored their children’s online behavior, and 43.6 percent have never instructed their children on the importance of using the Internet safely, according to a survey by Baldry et al. (2019). In contrast to females, boys exhibited notably greater engagement in cyberbullying. Additionally, parental education, oversight of their online activities, and control over their social network usage were comparatively diminished. 33.1 percent of cyberbullying boys reported that their parents were actively engaged in their online education, while 39.1 percent of cyberbullying boys stated otherwise. 41.5 percent of males who were victims of cyberbullying had parents who lacked authority over their online behavior, whereas 32.1 percent had parents who did. 34.1 percent of girls who were victims online reported that their parents did regulate their online activities, compared to 28.9 percent who said their parents had no influence over their online activities. 37.1 percent of online victim females reported that their parents monitored their social media activities, compared to 28.8 percent who said their parents did not.

Additionally, parents must be mindful of their children’s emotional fluctuations. Individuals who are subjected to cyberbullying through the network, for instance, may develop profound psychological distress and an intolerance for mobile phones, computers, and other Internet-capable devices. Or develop feelings of fear, anger, or anxiety following an Internet session. Assisting and consoling victims of cyberbullying while also preventing the situation from escalating is only possible if parents identify the issue in a timely manner. Parents who collaborate with their adolescent children to remain safe online and invest effort into educating them about the repercussions of participating in hazardous Internet activities are more successful in averting cyberbullying compared to those who impose restrictions without the consent of their teen (Ang, 2015).

(2) School

It should be the responsibility of schools to prevent online exploitation of adolescents. To a certain extent, cyberbullying reinforces traditional school bullying (Smith et al., 2016). Furthermore, victims of school bullying can be located at home through the use of mobile devices and computers (Cohen-Almagor, 2018). Educators ought to allocate greater focus towards identifying instances of abuse among pupils, as well as detecting any abnormalities in the moods and behaviors of students. Prompt identification of the issue and proactive parental communication regarding its resolution are crucial for promptly preventing future cyberbullying incidents. Additionally, educational institutions should establish appropriate psychological counseling chambers to offer assistance to students who are in distress. Certain adolescents may exhibit avoidance behavior toward their parents due to fear of them. Schools and parents collaborate proactively to reduce the likelihood that adolescents will be victims of cyber violence.

Schools need to teach teens and parents that it is not acceptable to remain silent when others are being hurt. It is necessary to maintain security both online and offline, and realize the harmfulness and serious harm of cyber violence.

(3) Government

Given the circumstances, the government is confronted with an unavoidable obligation and its involvement in directing the course of moderation and management becomes even more crucial (Flew, 2021). Prior to anything else, the government should provide adequate legal protection for victims, strengthen laws and regulations, and establish clear legal definitions and strict legal responsibilities with regard to cyber violence through the formulation and improvement of legal provisions. As soon as possible, the government should enact pertinent legislation to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of tormented adolescents. A number of countries have already enacted relevant laws.

Sacco et al. (2012) report that the overwhelming majority of states in the United States have enacted legislation that classifies cyberbullying as a crime. Several regulations in the United Kingdom may pertain to cyberbullying: The act of transmitting objectionable or menacing electronic communications is deemed illegal under the Malicious Communications Act of 1998. Additionally, harassment legislation applies to the use of smartphones and Internet communications under the Communications Act of 2003 (Cohen-Almagor, 2018). Preventing Harassment Act of 1997 charges have been brought against Facebook users who posted menacing status updates and sent offensive emails, according to the police. The most effective tool for cyberbullies is the government’s flawless legislation. The perfect laws of the government are the best weapon for cyberbullies. Only when the government has a complete system can it better help the bullied and punish the bullies. Only when the bullies receive due punishment, can they think about whether they can bear the consequences when committing cyberviolence.

(4) Platform

Given its critical role in transmitting information, the platform is unavoidably obligated to assist adolescents in preventing and managing cyber violence. Teenagers are big fans of social platforms, which are a common place for online violence. Social networking sites (SNS) are extremely well-liked by European adolescents. SNS are utilized by over half of 11-12 year olds and a quarter of 9-10 year olds, with 53% of the former using Facebook and 22% of the former using it (Livingstone et al., 2014). According to a 2013 survey, the platforms Facebook,, and Twitter were identified as the most probable origins of cyberbullying. 54% of Facebook users have reported experiencing cyberbullying online (Butterly, 2013). Instagram emerged as the preeminent platform for cyberbullying in 2017 (Wakefield, 2017). Instagram ranks first among social media platforms in terms of the proportion of adolescents who have been subjected to cyberbullying (42%), with Facebook and Snapchat following suit with 37% and 31%, respectively (Grigonis, 2017).

Prior to anything else, platforms must enhance their content review capabilities by refining the technical mechanisms that promptly identify and address content pertaining to violence and abuse. Furthermore, in order to guarantee a prompt and efficient response, it is crucial to establish unambiguous procedures for reporting and responding to incidents of online violence that young people and their guardians can readily utilize. Furthermore, the platform ought to proactively engage in network literacy education, assist adolescents in developing appropriate notions of online conduct via guidance and instruction, and heighten their consciousness regarding personal safety. By integrating these measures, the platform has the potential to foster a more secure and constructive digital milieu for young individuals, thereby substantially mitigating the adverse consequences of online aggression on said demographic.


It is very important to create a healthy and positive environment for young people to grow up, so it is vital to prevent young people from being subjected to online violence. We can not ignore the physical and mental damage to young people caused by online violence, and may even lead to the loss of life, which requires joint efforts from many aspects and shoulder their own responsibilities. Create a healthy Internet environment and growth environment for young people.


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Baldry, A. C., Sorrentino, A., & Farrington, D. P. (2019). Cyberbullying and cybervictimization versus parental supervision, monitoring and control of adolescents’ online activities. Children and Youth Services Review96, 302-307.

Butterly, A. (2013). ‘Growing trend’of cyberbullying on social networks. BBC News, October2.

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Cohen-Almagor, R. (2018). Social responsibility on the Internet: Addressing the challenge of cyberbullying. Aggression and violent behavior39, 42-52.

Daily Mail (2011) Online bullies are the most dangerous ‘because abuse is 24-hour’, Daily Mail Online. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2024).

Dodge, A. (2016). Digitizing rape culture: Online sexual violence and the power of the digital photograph. Crime, media, culture12(1), 65-82.

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Gerson, R., & Rappaport, N. (2011). Cyber cruelty: Understanding and preventing the new bullying. Adolescent Psychiatry1(1), 67-71.

Grigonis, H. (2017). Cyberbullying happens more often on Instagram, a new survey suggests. Digital Trends.

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Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., Görzig, A., & Ólafsson, K. (2011). Risks and safety on the internet: the perspective of European children: full findings and policy implications from the EU Kids Online survey of 9-16 year olds and their parents in 25 countries.

Livingstone, Sonia, Giovanna Mascheroni, Kjartan Olafsson, and Leslie Haddon. “Children’s online risks and opportunities.” EU Kids Online, November (2014).

Shariff, S., & DeMartini, A. (2015). Defining the Legal Lines: eGirls and Intimate images’, eGIRLS, eCITIZENS.

Smith, P. K. (Ed.). (2016). School bullying in different cultures. Cambridge University Press.

Sacco, D., Baird Silbaugh, K., Corredor, F., Casey, J., & Doherty, D. (2012). An overview of state anti-bullying legislation and other related laws. Berkman Center Research Publication, (2013-4). Wakefield, J. (2017). Instagram tops cyber-bullying study.

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