Examining Community Perceptions of the Relationships Between Cyber Bullying and Youth Suicide

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1678 Words
Date:  2022-05-26


Using data collected from interviews with people of different ages, this study investigates the relationship between cyberbullying and youth suicide. Hypothetically, cyberbullying can be defined as the harrying or victimization that occurs while using digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets, iPhones, and computers. Using interviews, we were able to collect data on the perceptions of different segments of the society on the implications on this subject. The results of this study indicate that most of the people interviewed were concerned over the damaging effects cyberbullying has brought to the youths. Furthermore, most interviewees concurred that cyberbullying takes place over the internet. Some of the identified implications of cyberbullying include stress, anxiety, psychological injury and low self-esteem. The negative effects of cyberbullying were found to correlate with the increase in youth suicide among the youth.

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Cyberbullying occurs through short message services (SMS), smartphone applications, social media platforms, online gaming activities and blogging activities. In most circumstances, cyberbullying is a clandestine affair, involving posting, sharing or the sending of harmful information about other people. The youth have fallen victim to this problem, and there have been no firm measures taken towards addressing cyberbullying. In the United States of America, studies have shown that a large majority of teenagers own mobile phones or tablets and at least two-thirds of them go online on a daily basis (Campbell, 2005, p.27). Today, online experiences have been integrated into most aspects of life, and hence youth have a perception that online experiences are parts of their social life. The digital revolution has had positive impacts which most people have benefited from. For instance, it is possible to communicate with anyone across the world in real-time and with routine efficiency. While the benefits of the digitization of communication and internet access systems have been myriad, these developments have brought undesirable social experiences which have had serious impacts to not only the youth but also the society as a whole.

As more research is being conducted on the effects of cyberbullying in the society, it is evident that the consequences of this scandalous activity on the victims are more serious than many people think. For instance, cyberbullying, as evident in this study, has been linked to depression, contracted perceptions of safety, self-harm, reduced self-esteem, emotional distress, decreased academic performance and the increase of suicidal ideation among the youth. (Campbell, 2005, p.26). In most countries, cyberbullying is not only illegal and also punishable criminal behavior. However, the enactment of cyber-crime prevention acts has been marred with accusations and counter-accusations between legislative bodies and human rights activists who see some of the provisions included in the acts as barriers to the free access of information (Campbell, 2005, p.23). Recently, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of cyberbullying, and surprisingly, this has coincided with an increase in the cases of attempted or committed suicide among the youths. This damning revelation informed this research as we sought to understand the underlying causes of cyberbullying, the nature of the relationship between cyberbullying and youth suicide and some of the remedies to this problem.

Research objectives

The main objective of this research was to determine the relationship between cyberbullying and youth suicide.

Specific research objectives

To examine the awareness of the society on the incidences of cyberbullying.

To investigate the underlying reasons for the increase in cyberbullying.

To investigate the impacts of cyberbullying in the society.

Research Questions

What is the relationship between cyberbullying and youth suicide?

Specific research questions.

Is the society aware of the emergence of cyberbullying?

What are the reasons behind the recent increase in cyberbullying occurrences?

Is cyberbullying correlated to increased suicidal ideation by the youth?

Is cyberbullying manageable and what methods can be used to achieve this?

Literature review

The advance in technology and advent of social media has been transformative in shaping social norms amongst youths. Online activity is intensifying as adolescents utilize these platforms to connect. Cyberbullying is now a major health concern which has led to increased risks of suicide in adolescents. (Gilchrist, 2007, p.206)Due to the rapid expansion of technology, gaps in knowledge are evident in understanding cyberbullying and its prevalence. This research aims to investigate current understandings of cyberbullying and its relationship to suicide in adolescents by interviewing family members and friends on their perceptions of the topic.

Amanda, C, Amber, C, April, S, Jasmne, N, and Nathan, H. (2018). Examining

Community Perceptions of the Relationships between Cyber Bullying and Youth Suicide: A Qualitative Study, Research Proposal Submitted to <Name of Lecturer>, Southern Cross University, <Place>

Qualitative studies investigating the relationship between cyberbullying and youth suicide have established three key concerns. Firstly, globalization and social norms create the environment for bullying and suicide. Secondly, bullying significantly increases the risk of suicide in adolescents. Cyberbullying is perceived as worse than traditional forms of bullying as the digital world can be insidious and inescapable. Globalization promotes an environment in which the majority of people may be expected to feel empowered and optimistic. Individuals who do not fall into this category are more likely to be targets of bullying (Gilchrist, Howarth & Sullivan 2007, p. 154, & Hinduja & Patchin 2010, p. 207)

Studies have shown that bullying is associated with an increased risk of suicide in teenagers (Bonanno & Hymel 2013, p. 687, & Alavi et al. 2017, p. 71). Furthermore, cyberbullying is up to 20% more likely than the conventional forms of bullying, to cause suicidal ideation in the youth (Litwiller & Brausch 2013, p. 675, Mitchell, Jones & Turner 2017, p. 3, & Hinduja & Patchin 2010, p. 209). Cyberbullying may be more damaging than traditional bullying due to the simpler and faster ability to harass (Nikolaou 2017, p. 30, Alavi et al. 2017, p. 75, & Mitchell, Jones & Turner 2017, p. 8). Digital technologies create a space where bullying can occur at any time or place, with instant availability, making it difficult to avoid (Alavi et al. 2017, p. 75, Litwiller & Brausch 2013, p. 681, & Holt et al. 2014, p. 601). The potential for the offender to execute threats and intimidation anonymously makes attempts to identify and hold the offender accountable problematic (Bonanno & Hymel 2013, p. 694, Alavi et al. 2017, p. 75, & Holt et al. 2014, p. 601).

Themes of bullying are frequently linked to social disadvantage, inequity, poverty and increased societal expectations (Ekersley & Dear 2002, p. 1892, Im, Park & Strother Ratcliff 2014, p. 106, & Maimon & Kuhl 2008, p. 922). The low levels of social cohesion, emanating from the inability to integrate into social institutions contribute to both bullying and suicide in the youth (Bauman, Toomey & Walker 2013, p. 342, & Holt et al. 2014, p. 599).

Though the topic of cyberbullying has been widely researched, studies are yet to show direct causation of suicide in teenagers, attributed to cyberbullying (Bonanno & Hymel 2013, p. 694, & Ekersley & Dear 2002, p. 1982). With technology continually advancing, the laws that are created to regulate cyberbullying and the policymakers who create them, are struggling to respond accurately to this crisis proactively (Bonanno & Hymel 2013, p. 694, & Alavi et al. 2017, p. 75). Therefore, there is a need for further qualitative research to determine the relationship between cyberbullying and youth suicide.


For this research, semi-structured interviews were conducted with family and friends to gather qualitative data on perceptions of cyberbullying and suicide in adolescents. Participants were asked about their understanding of cyberbullying, how cyberbullying may affect an adolescent, and their opinions on why cyberbullying may lead to outcomes of suicide in adolescents. The use of a qualitative methodology was chosen to gain insight into the complex and multi-dimensional issues surrounding cyberbullying and its influences on suicide in adolescents. Using a qualitative research method allows for participants thoughts and opinions to be individually explored allowing for key issues to emerge (Denscombe 2010; Natalier 2013).

Results from all participants were cross-matched to examine agreements and disagreements within the sample (Casimiro, Hancock & Northcote 2007). This allows for new insight to be conveyed against current assumptions (Natalier 2013) surrounding the link between suicidality in adolescents and cyberbullying. This is valuable to gain a greater understanding of the issue and to develop current theoretical concepts of cyberbullying and its influence on suicide in adolescents (Kumar 2005).


The results of this study show that there is a high level of awareness that cyberbullying occurs over networks, the internet, and social media. For instance, the interviewee in transcript notes that he understands cyberbullying as "...to be bullying over networks, the internet, and social media" All the participants interviewed in this study noted that they were aware that cyberbullying occurs mostly through the internet. Coincidentally, most of the respondents noted that cyberbullying involves the use of digital devices to send or receive harmful messages targeted to other people. The interviewee in transcript two notes "...I consider cyberbullying to be, ah, I consider it to be people having harsh opinions of other people on the internet" The interviewees in this study identified Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites as the leading contributors to cyberbullying. Also, cyberbullying was noted to affect the youths mostly as they spend more time on the internet, compared to other people. Six of the respondents noted that they had seen or experienced incidences of youths with ideation of suicide, because of issues related to cyberbullying. Furthermore, most of the respondents also identified the spending of more time over the internet as a key contributor to cyberbullying and youth suicide. Some of the identified effects of cyberbullying from the responses of the interviewees include diminished academic progress, stress, conflicts and low self-esteem. For instance, the interviewee in transcript one notes "....cyberbullying does affect teenagers by causing, ah, anxiety and stress, personal loss of self-image, and can cause psychological injury, and um, possible suicide". As a result, most teenagers may have the ideation that suicide will solve all these challenges when they become victims of cyberbullying.

Discussion and Conclusion

The overarching aim of this study was to examine the relationship between cyberbullying and incidences of youth suicide. From the results of this qualitative study, it was evident that cyberbullying is a widely understood concept. Most of the respondents were able to define this cyberbullying and even identify some of the contributors to this problem. Cyberbullying was identified as a major co...

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Examining Community Perceptions of the Relationships Between Cyber Bullying and Youth Suicide. (2022, May 26). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/examining-community-perceptions-of-the-relationships-between-cyber-bullying-and-youth-suicide

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