• Research article
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  • Published: 14 December 2021

Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a repeated cross-sectional study

  • Håkan Källmén 1 &
  • Mats Hallgren   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0599-2403 2  

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health volume  15 , Article number:  74 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

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To examine recent trends in bullying and mental health problems among adolescents and the association between them.

A questionnaire measuring mental health problems, bullying at school, socio-economic status, and the school environment was distributed to all secondary school students aged 15 (school-year 9) and 18 (school-year 11) in Stockholm during 2014, 2018, and 2020 (n = 32,722). Associations between bullying and mental health problems were assessed using logistic regression analyses adjusting for relevant demographic, socio-economic, and school-related factors.

The prevalence of bullying remained stable and was highest among girls in year 9; range = 4.9% to 16.9%. Mental health problems increased; range = + 1.2% (year 9 boys) to + 4.6% (year 11 girls) and were consistently higher among girls (17.2% in year 11, 2020). In adjusted models, having been bullied was detrimentally associated with mental health (OR = 2.57 [2.24–2.96]). Reports of mental health problems were four times higher among boys who had been bullied compared to those not bullied. The corresponding figure for girls was 2.4 times higher.


Exposure to bullying at school was associated with higher odds of mental health problems. Boys appear to be more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bullying than girls.


Bullying involves repeated hurtful actions between peers where an imbalance of power exists [ 1 ]. Arseneault et al. [ 2 ] conducted a review of the mental health consequences of bullying for children and adolescents and found that bullying is associated with severe symptoms of mental health problems, including self-harm and suicidality. Bullying was shown to have detrimental effects that persist into late adolescence and contribute independently to mental health problems. Updated reviews have presented evidence indicating that bullying is causative of mental illness in many adolescents [ 3 , 4 ].

There are indications that mental health problems are increasing among adolescents in some Nordic countries. Hagquist et al. [ 5 ] examined trends in mental health among Scandinavian adolescents (n = 116, 531) aged 11–15 years between 1993 and 2014. Mental health problems were operationalized as difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders, headache, stomach pain, feeling tense, sad and/or dizzy. The study revealed increasing rates of adolescent mental health problems in all four counties (Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark), with Sweden experiencing the sharpest increase among older adolescents, particularly girls. Worsening adolescent mental health has also been reported in the United Kingdom. A study of 28,100 school-aged adolescents in England found that two out of five young people scored above thresholds for emotional problems, conduct problems or hyperactivity [ 6 ]. Female gender, deprivation, high needs status (educational/social), ethnic background, and older age were all associated with higher odds of experiencing mental health difficulties.

Bullying is shown to increase the risk of poor mental health and may partly explain these detrimental changes. Le et al. [ 7 ] reported an inverse association between bullying and mental health among 11–16-year-olds in Vietnam. They also found that poor mental health can make some children and adolescents more vulnerable to bullying at school. Bayer et al. [ 8 ] examined links between bullying at school and mental health among 8–9-year-old children in Australia. Those who experienced bullying more than once a week had poorer mental health than children who experienced bullying less frequently. Friendships moderated this association, such that children with more friends experienced fewer mental health problems (protective effect). Hysing et al. [ 9 ] investigated the association between experiences of bullying (as a victim or perpetrator) and mental health, sleep disorders, and school performance among 16–19 year olds from Norway (n = 10,200). Participants were categorized as victims, bullies, or bully-victims (that is, victims who also bullied others). All three categories were associated with worse mental health, school performance, and sleeping difficulties. Those who had been bullied also reported more emotional problems, while those who bullied others reported more conduct disorders [ 9 ].

As most adolescents spend a considerable amount of time at school, the school environment has been a major focus of mental health research [ 10 , 11 ]. In a recent review, Saminathen et al. [ 12 ] concluded that school is a potential protective factor against mental health problems, as it provides a socially supportive context and prepares students for higher education and employment. However, it may also be the primary setting for protracted bullying and stress [ 13 ]. Another factor associated with adolescent mental health is parental socio-economic status (SES) [ 14 ]. A systematic review indicated that lower parental SES is associated with poorer adolescent mental health [ 15 ]. However, no previous studies have examined whether SES modifies or attenuates the association between bullying and mental health. Similarly, it remains unclear whether school related factors, such as school grades and the school environment, influence the relationship between bullying and mental health. This information could help to identify those adolescents most at risk of harm from bullying.

To address these issues, we investigated the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems among Swedish adolescents aged 15–18 years between 2014 and 2020 using a population-based school survey. We also examined associations between bullying at school and mental health problems adjusting for relevant demographic, socioeconomic, and school-related factors. We hypothesized that: (1) bullying and adolescent mental health problems have increased over time; (2) There is an association between bullying victimization and mental health, so that mental health problems are more prevalent among those who have been victims of bullying; and (3) that school-related factors would attenuate the association between bullying and mental health.


The Stockholm school survey is completed every other year by students in lower secondary school (year 9—compulsory) and upper secondary school (year 11). The survey is mandatory for public schools, but voluntary for private schools. The purpose of the survey is to help inform decision making by local authorities that will ultimately improve students’ wellbeing. The questions relate to life circumstances, including SES, schoolwork, bullying, drug use, health, and crime. Non-completers are those who were absent from school when the survey was completed (< 5%). Response rates vary from year to year but are typically around 75%. For the current study data were available for 2014, 2018 and 2020. In 2014; 5235 boys and 5761 girls responded, in 2018; 5017 boys and 5211 girls responded, and in 2020; 5633 boys and 5865 girls responded (total n = 32,722). Data for the exposure variable, bullied at school, were missing for 4159 students, leaving 28,563 participants in the crude model. The fully adjusted model (described below) included 15,985 participants. The mean age in grade 9 was 15.3 years (SD = 0.51) and in grade 11, 17.3 years (SD = 0.61). As the data are completely anonymous, the study was exempt from ethical approval according to an earlier decision from the Ethical Review Board in Stockholm (2010-241 31-5). Details of the survey are available via a website [ 16 ], and are described in a previous paper [ 17 ].

Students completed the questionnaire during a school lesson, placed it in a sealed envelope and handed it to their teacher. Student were permitted the entire lesson (about 40 min) to complete the questionnaire and were informed that participation was voluntary (and that they were free to cancel their participation at any time without consequences). Students were also informed that the Origo Group was responsible for collection of the data on behalf of the City of Stockholm.

Study outcome

Mental health problems were assessed by using a modified version of the Psychosomatic Problem Scale [ 18 ] shown to be appropriate for children and adolescents and invariant across gender and years. The scale was later modified [ 19 ]. In the modified version, items about difficulty concentrating and feeling giddy were deleted and an item about ‘life being great to live’ was added. Seven different symptoms or problems, such as headaches, depression, feeling fear, stomach problems, difficulty sleeping, believing it’s great to live (coded negatively as seldom or rarely) and poor appetite were used. Students who responded (on a 5-point scale) that any of these problems typically occurs ‘at least once a week’ were considered as having indicators of a mental health problem. Cronbach alpha was 0.69 across the whole sample. Adding these problem areas, a total index was created from 0 to 7 mental health symptoms. Those who scored between 0 and 4 points on the total symptoms index were considered to have a low indication of mental health problems (coded as 0); those who scored between 5 and 7 symptoms were considered as likely having mental health problems (coded as 1).

Primary exposure

Experiences of bullying were measured by the following two questions: Have you felt bullied or harassed during the past school year? Have you been involved in bullying or harassing other students during this school year? Alternatives for the first question were: yes or no with several options describing how the bullying had taken place (if yes). Alternatives indicating emotional bullying were feelings of being mocked, ridiculed, socially excluded, or teased. Alternatives indicating physical bullying were being beaten, kicked, forced to do something against their will, robbed, or locked away somewhere. The response alternatives for the second question gave an estimation of how often the respondent had participated in bullying others (from once to several times a week). Combining the answers to these two questions, five different categories of bullying were identified: (1) never been bullied and never bully others; (2) victims of emotional (verbal) bullying who have never bullied others; (3) victims of physical bullying who have never bullied others; (4) victims of bullying who have also bullied others; and (5) perpetrators of bullying, but not victims. As the number of positive cases in the last three categories was low (range = 3–15 cases) bully categories 2–4 were combined into one primary exposure variable: ‘bullied at school’.

Assessment year was operationalized as the year when data was collected: 2014, 2018, and 2020. Age was operationalized as school grade 9 (15–16 years) or 11 (17–18 years). Gender was self-reported (boy or girl). The school situation To assess experiences of the school situation, students responded to 18 statements about well-being in school, participation in important school matters, perceptions of their teachers, and teaching quality. Responses were given on a four-point Likert scale ranging from ‘do not agree at all’ to ‘fully agree’. To reduce the 18-items down to their essential factors, we performed a principal axis factor analysis. Results showed that the 18 statements formed five factors which, according to the Kaiser criterion (eigen values > 1) explained 56% of the covariance in the student’s experience of the school situation. The five factors identified were: (1) Participation in school; (2) Interesting and meaningful work; (3) Feeling well at school; (4) Structured school lessons; and (5) Praise for achievements. For each factor, an index was created that was dichotomised (poor versus good circumstance) using the median-split and dummy coded with ‘good circumstance’ as reference. A description of the items included in each factor is available as Additional file 1 . Socio-economic status (SES) was assessed with three questions about the education level of the student’s mother and father (dichotomized as university degree versus not), and the amount of spending money the student typically received for entertainment each month (> SEK 1000 [approximately $120] versus less). Higher parental education and more spending money were used as reference categories. School grades in Swedish, English, and mathematics were measured separately on a 7-point scale and dichotomized as high (grades A, B, and C) versus low (grades D, E, and F). High school grades were used as the reference category.

Statistical analyses

The prevalence of mental health problems and bullying at school are presented using descriptive statistics, stratified by survey year (2014, 2018, 2020), gender, and school year (9 versus 11). As noted, we reduced the 18-item questionnaire assessing school function down to five essential factors by conducting a principal axis factor analysis (see Additional file 1 ). We then calculated the association between bullying at school (defined above) and mental health problems using multivariable logistic regression. Results are presented as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (Cis). To assess the contribution of SES and school-related factors to this association, three models are presented: Crude, Model 1 adjusted for demographic factors: age, gender, and assessment year; Model 2 adjusted for Model 1 plus SES (parental education and student spending money), and Model 3 adjusted for Model 2 plus school-related factors (school grades and the five factors identified in the principal factor analysis). These covariates were entered into the regression models in three blocks, where the final model represents the fully adjusted analyses. In all models, the category ‘not bullied at school’ was used as the reference. Pseudo R-square was calculated to estimate what proportion of the variance in mental health problems was explained by each model. Unlike the R-square statistic derived from linear regression, the Pseudo R-square statistic derived from logistic regression gives an indicator of the explained variance, as opposed to an exact estimate, and is considered informative in identifying the relative contribution of each model to the outcome [ 20 ]. All analyses were performed using SPSS v. 26.0.

Prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems

Estimates of the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems across the 12 strata of data (3 years × 2 school grades × 2 genders) are shown in Table 1 . The prevalence of bullying at school increased minimally (< 1%) between 2014 and 2020, except among girls in grade 11 (2.5% increase). Mental health problems increased between 2014 and 2020 (range = 1.2% [boys in year 11] to 4.6% [girls in year 11]); were three to four times more prevalent among girls (range = 11.6% to 17.2%) compared to boys (range = 2.6% to 4.9%); and were more prevalent among older adolescents compared to younger adolescents (range = 1% to 3.1% higher). Pooling all data, reports of mental health problems were four times more prevalent among boys who had been victims of bullying compared to those who reported no experiences with bullying. The corresponding figure for girls was two and a half times as prevalent.

Associations between bullying at school and mental health problems

Table 2 shows the association between bullying at school and mental health problems after adjustment for relevant covariates. Demographic factors, including female gender (OR = 3.87; CI 3.48–4.29), older age (OR = 1.38, CI 1.26–1.50), and more recent assessment year (OR = 1.18, CI 1.13–1.25) were associated with higher odds of mental health problems. In Model 2, none of the included SES variables (parental education and student spending money) were associated with mental health problems. In Model 3 (fully adjusted), the following school-related factors were associated with higher odds of mental health problems: lower grades in Swedish (OR = 1.42, CI 1.22–1.67); uninteresting or meaningless schoolwork (OR = 2.44, CI 2.13–2.78); feeling unwell at school (OR = 1.64, CI 1.34–1.85); unstructured school lessons (OR = 1.31, CI = 1.16–1.47); and no praise for achievements (OR = 1.19, CI 1.06–1.34). After adjustment for all covariates, being bullied at school remained associated with higher odds of mental health problems (OR = 2.57; CI 2.24–2.96). Demographic and school-related factors explained 12% and 6% of the variance in mental health problems, respectively (Pseudo R-Square). The inclusion of socioeconomic factors did not alter the variance explained.

Our findings indicate that mental health problems increased among Swedish adolescents between 2014 and 2020, while the prevalence of bullying at school remained stable (< 1% increase), except among girls in year 11, where the prevalence increased by 2.5%. As previously reported [ 5 , 6 ], mental health problems were more common among girls and older adolescents. These findings align with previous studies showing that adolescents who are bullied at school are more likely to experience mental health problems compared to those who are not bullied [ 3 , 4 , 9 ]. This detrimental relationship was observed after adjustment for school-related factors shown to be associated with adolescent mental health [ 10 ].

A novel finding was that boys who had been bullied at school reported a four-times higher prevalence of mental health problems compared to non-bullied boys. The corresponding figure for girls was 2.5 times higher for those who were bullied compared to non-bullied girls, which could indicate that boys are more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bullying than girls. Alternatively, it may indicate that boys are (on average) bullied more frequently or more intensely than girls, leading to worse mental health. Social support could also play a role; adolescent girls often have stronger social networks than boys and could be more inclined to voice concerns about bullying to significant others, who in turn may offer supports which are protective [ 21 ]. Related studies partly confirm this speculative explanation. An Estonian study involving 2048 children and adolescents aged 10–16 years found that, compared to girls, boys who had been bullied were more likely to report severe distress, measured by poor mental health and feelings of hopelessness [ 22 ].

Other studies suggest that heritable traits, such as the tendency to internalize problems and having low self-esteem are associated with being a bully-victim [ 23 ]. Genetics are understood to explain a large proportion of bullying-related behaviors among adolescents. A study from the Netherlands involving 8215 primary school children found that genetics explained approximately 65% of the risk of being a bully-victim [ 24 ]. This proportion was similar for boys and girls. Higher than average body mass index (BMI) is another recognized risk factor [ 25 ]. A recent Australian trial involving 13 schools and 1087 students (mean age = 13 years) targeted adolescents with high-risk personality traits (hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity, sensation seeking) to reduce bullying at school; both as victims and perpetrators [ 26 ]. There was no significant intervention effect for bullying victimization or perpetration in the total sample. In a secondary analysis, compared to the control schools, intervention school students showed greater reductions in victimization, suicidal ideation, and emotional symptoms. These findings potentially support targeting high-risk personality traits in bullying prevention [ 26 ].

The relative stability of bullying at school between 2014 and 2020 suggests that other factors may better explain the increase in mental health problems seen here. Many factors could be contributing to these changes, including the increasingly competitive labour market, higher demands for education, and the rapid expansion of social media [ 19 , 27 , 28 ]. A recent Swedish study involving 29,199 students aged between 11 and 16 years found that the effects of school stress on psychosomatic symptoms have become stronger over time (1993–2017) and have increased more among girls than among boys [ 10 ]. Research is needed examining possible gender differences in perceived school stress and how these differences moderate associations between bullying and mental health.

Strengths and limitations

Strengths of the current study include the large participant sample from diverse schools; public and private, theoretical and practical orientations. The survey included items measuring diverse aspects of the school environment; factors previously linked to adolescent mental health but rarely included as covariates in studies of bullying and mental health. Some limitations are also acknowledged. These data are cross-sectional which means that the direction of the associations cannot be determined. Moreover, all the variables measured were self-reported. Previous studies indicate that students tend to under-report bullying and mental health problems [ 29 ]; thus, our results may underestimate the prevalence of these behaviors.

In conclusion, consistent with our stated hypotheses, we observed an increase in self-reported mental health problems among Swedish adolescents, and a detrimental association between bullying at school and mental health problems. Although bullying at school does not appear to be the primary explanation for these changes, bullying was detrimentally associated with mental health after adjustment for relevant demographic, socio-economic, and school-related factors, confirming our third hypothesis. The finding that boys are potentially more vulnerable than girls to the deleterious effects of bullying should be replicated in future studies, and the mechanisms investigated. Future studies should examine the longitudinal association between bullying and mental health, including which factors mediate/moderate this relationship. Epigenetic studies are also required to better understand the complex interaction between environmental and biological risk factors for adolescent mental health [ 24 ].

Availability of data and materials

Data requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please email the corresponding author.

Code availability

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Authors are grateful to the Department for Social Affairs, Stockholm, for permission to use data from the Stockholm School Survey.

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HK conceived the study and analyzed the data (with input from MH). HK and MH interpreted the data and jointly wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Principal factor analysis description.

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Källmén, H., Hallgren, M. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a repeated cross-sectional study. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 15 , 74 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-021-00425-y

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Snezana’s story: from being bullied to ending conflicts at school, peer mediators in kosovo (scr 1244) help keep school safe for everyone.

Snezana Dzogovic, 16, poses for a portrait at the Peer Mediation Center of Domovik NGO, in Mitrovica North.

MITROVICA, Kosovo (SCR 1244), 6 September, 2018 - Sixteen-year-old Snezana Dzogovic vividly remembers when her classmates started to bully her. She was in sixth grade at her school in Mitrovica, northern Kosovo (SCR 1244).

“I went ‘into’ myself and did not talk to anyone about it.  I started avoiding school.  My grades fell because I did not go to school. I could not study at home,” she says.

Snezana says the bullying started when she began listening to rock music and dressing differently than the other girls. She liked bands like Nirvana and Guns n’ Roses and she cut her hair short.

Verbal and physical abuse followed. Her classmates would damage her belongings when she wasn’t looking.

One day Snezana came home with her backpack and books ripped and her mother asked her what had happened.

“When I started to talk, my mother felt shocked and embarrassed that I had not shared it before. My mother went to school and spoke to the class teacher, but she (the teacher) avoided resolving the issue,” says Snezana.

Snezana, and her fellow peer mediators simulate a bullying case at the Branko Radicevic School in Mitrovica North, Kosovo (SCR 1244).  The group is organized by UNICEF and partner organization DOMOVIK as part of a school-based violence prevention programme. The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school – often cases of bullying and psychological abuse.

Violence, an everyday lesson for millions

According to a new report released by UNICEF today, Violence in Schools: An Everyday Lesson , peer violence, defined as the number of children who report having been bullied in the last month or having been involved in a physical fight in the last year – is a pervasive part of young people’s education around the world.

The report finds that approximately half of all students aged 13 to 15 – 150 million girls and boys – experience peer-violence. This violence exists in every region of the world and in every community.

The report explains that the effects of peer to peer violence are unacceptably high on individual young people as well as society as a whole. Violence decreases self-esteem, reduces attendance, lowers grades and leads many children to drop out of school completely.

Snezana, and her fellow peer mediators simulate a bullying case at the Branko Radicevic School in Mitrovica North, Kosovo (SCR 1244).

From being bullied to mediating conflicts

Snezana explains that during the time she was being bullied, a new group of peer mediators were brought into her school. She had never heard about the group and was admittedly skeptical.

“At first I did not feel comfortable.  I thought it was yet another group that would bully me,” she said.

But this group was different.

The group is organized by UNICEF and partner organization in Kosovo (SCR 1244) DOMOVIK as part of a school-based violence prevention programme. The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school – often cases of bullying and psychological abuse. They are also trained to refer more serious cases of violence to appropriate officials, including social welfare authorities and the police.

The peer mediators work with school administrators, teachers, the student council as well as psychologists and education specialists.

Snezana decided to join the group. During the first year of being a peer mediator the bullying she was experiencing stopped. She also brought positive changes into other student’s lives. 

“When I joined, I found it to be a wonderful group and started to work on myself,” she says.  “I now put in extra effort when I see a child being bullied, and also suggest the child to join the peer mediation team.”

Snezana (on the left, in a yellow shirt) and her fellow peer mediators meet at the Peer Mediation Center of Domovik NGO, in Mitrovica North Kosovo (SCR 1244). UNICEF estimates approximately half of all students aged 13 to 15 globally – 150 million girls and boys – experience peer-violence. The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school – often cases of bullying and psychological abuse.

Over the last five years Snezana has helped end approximately 50 school-based conflicts or cases of bullying. She recalls one particular instance when she convinced two boys who had been fighting that physical conflict would not help.  She explains that she approached the situation as a friend, wanting to listen to both of the boys. 

“That is how it was resolved,” she says.

Another important part of Snezana and the other peer mediator’s work is visiting neighbouring schools and re-enacting cases of bullying. During the reenactments, students learn how to identify bullying and resolve conflict. 

So far, the peer mediation programme has benefitted at least 15,000 students in Kosovo (SCR 1244).

Snezana will never forget the pain of being targeted by bullies, but she says she has moved on.

“I decided to let them know that I was equal to them,” she says about the kids who used to bully her.  “At the end of the day I forgive them because they were children.”

Related topics

More to explore.

Alarming increase in child casualties in Ukraine as deadly attacks continue

EU migration and asylum deal must uphold our collective responsibility to protect children

City of Bratislava, Eurocities and UNICEF call for continued solidarity and support for Ukrainian refugees as war persists

“I realised that I am feeling climate change every day”

21-year-old Maja Ibričić, a passionate activist and youth advocate from Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the importance of engaging young people in climate action

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  • 28 June 2023

Bullying in academia: why it happens and how to stop it

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Morteza Mahmoudi and Chris Jackson talk about how to address bullying in academia.

Morteza Mahmoudi witnessed bullying behaviours during a series of lab visits following his PhD in 2009. He now studies the topic alongside his role as a nanoscience and regenerative medicine researcher at Michigan State University in East Lansing. In 2019 he co-founded the Academic Parity Movement, a non-profit which aims to end academic discrimination, violence and bullying across the sector.

In the seventh episode of this podcast series about freedom and safety in science, Mahmoudi tells Adam Levy that bullying is triggered by workplace power imbalances and is particularly prevalent in academia with its hierarchical structure, often causing targets to stay silent.

Bullying can cause a range of physical and mental health problems, he says. Perpetrators damage individuals, institutions’ reputations and wider society. He outlines steps to take if you find yourself bullied, and how academic institutions can tackle the problem.

Mahmoudi is joined by geoscientist Chris Jackson, who left academia in 2022 for a role at engineering consultancy Jacobs, based in Manchester, UK. Jackson welcomes the fact that bullying harassment and discrimination in academia is now more talked about, but says its root cause is an individual’s inability to put themselves in someone else’s position and identify with their personality and experience.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-02172-w

Adam Levy: 00:03

Hello, I’m Adam Levy and this is Working Scientist , a Nature Careers podcast. In this episode: bullying in science.

Throughout this series we’ve looked at the threats to scientists and to science itself, threats to freedom and safety that can end careers and block avenues of research.

As we’ve discussed, many such threats come from outside of science. External factors like war, an economic situation, or political interference. But today, in our seventh episode of the series, we’re taking a look at a problem that comes from within the research world, a problem whose severity can derail lives, and yet can be found in labs the world over.

Today we’re talking about bullying and harassment in academic research.

Harassment and bullying can take many forms, and no two experiences are the same. Earlier in this series, we spoke about the impact that online harassment can have on researchers. And in that episode we spoke with Chris Jackson, a geoscientist at the engineering company Jacobs, in the UK.

Chris also shared his thoughts on why, despite evidence of widespread harassment in the sciences, there’s so little awareness of the problem.

Chris Jackson: 01:35

There seems to be this amazing bus between how common it is and the awareness of it. And I think that, in itself, explains why, that it’s so common bullying and harassment, is because I think some people are just ignorant to it.

Either they don’t know what bullying harassment means or by them not being subjected to it, they can't almost imagine it happens to other people.

And I really think, you know, whether it’s bullying, harassment, such as racial discrimination, or its anti-queer sentiments and discrimination, I think a lot of these things arise because people are unable to put themselves in somebody else’s position and identify with the axes of that other person’s personality, which might mean that discrimination is more likely to occur to them than it is to them themselves.

So I do think just that awareness, and continually talking about things, and then showing a bunch of data which kind of explain numerically what the problem is and how it affects people, it’s really, really important, because sometimes it’s just ignorance, and sometimes it’s just, you know, an unwillingness to believe that happens. But we need to keep on banging the drum about these things.

Adam Levy: 02:46

It can seem like a lot of institutions are taking more and more measures to actually fight bullying and harassment. Do you think this is actually taking place in institutions you’ve been aware of? Or is it more about paying lip service to the idea of taking action?

Chris Jackson: 03:03

I think there’s some good people trying to do some good things, is probably the first bit of my answer, I think.

The second bit of my answer is there’s some people who want to be seen to be doing the right thing and doing good things, and they want to be seen to be good.

I can honestly say 20 years into my academic career, although I’m not you know, I’ve kind of recently moved away from the centre of it, these things are being talked about more.

We are, we are talking more about bullying and harassment. You know, there are podcast series and op-eds about about the importance of this, and we’re trying to recognize the importance of good academic conduct and positive academic environments as an integral part of the academic process.

And that wasn’t happening 20 years ago. I think we have moved positively in that sense, which I think is good. Now we still need to have the tenacity and the processes and the, you know - whether they’re disciplinary or supporting victims of abuse - we need to have resources, financial and otherwise, being put into those things to make sure that we’re not just talking about these things more, we are actually seeing people having a better experience within academia or within science more generally, as a function of these things we’re trying to implement.

And that’s all that matters really. It doesn’t matter if you talk about things. All that matters is that people have a better time of it. That’s where we want to get to. How we get there is kind of secondary in a way.

Adam Levy: 04:27

Chris Jackson there. Some researchers have made it their mission to find a way to make the situation better, and to uncover why so many individuals and institutions resist the changes needed to stamp out bullying and harassment in science.

For example, nanomedicine and regenerative medicine researcher Morteza Mahmoudi, who’s at Michigan State University. Besides his official academic research, Morteza is also the co-founder and director of the Academic Parity movement.

Since 2019 the organization has aimed to provide external resources for targets of academic bullying.

We began our conversation discussing what inspired Morteza to found the movement.

Morteza Mahmoudi: 05:15

When I basically got my PhD back in 2009, I had to basically get training in different aspects of science, like in medicine.

So I started visiting different labs and get additional training. So no matter where I basically work, I always basically saw people suffering from the issues of academic bullying and harassment.

So I wrote a short piece to Nature about the issues of the reporting system in the field of academic bullying and harassment.

And it was interesting that between two weeks after publication of these pieces, the number of feedback that I’ve got was like hugely higher than all of the feedbacks that I’ve got for over 200 papers that I had in the field of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine.

So I thought with myself that, okay, our role as a scientist is to make the world a better place to live. So what is better than studying academic bullying? It seems that it’s a real problem, but yet no one talks about it. So I basically, I started studying academic bullying seriously, from that time.

Adam Levy: 06:37

Now, when we talk about bullying, and specifically academic bullying, how do we define those terms?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 06:45

In general terms academic bullying is a violation of human rights in an academic setting.

But it has a wide range of actions. It starts from, like, verbal abuse, all the way to stealing intellectual properties, or authorship credit. Advanced version, I would say, it’s a false allegation of academic misconduct in an attempt to basically remove star scientists from competition.

Adam Levy: 07:19

What are the effects on academics who are being bullied, both in terms of their careers, but also in terms of the actual wellbeing?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 07:30

It has huge effects. It starts from mental health issues in short term, like anxiety or stress.

But in long term, it can also develop serious cardiovascular issues, PTSD, and other mental and even physical health issues.

I always encourage people to also consider the fact that this is not a problem that only affect targets. It also affect like other people. For example, if a target is in like a medical setting or in healthcare, academic bullying, or other types of bullying and harassment, can increase wrong decision-making in medical procedures. So it even affects patients.

Adam Levy: 08:20

Given all these incredibly negative effects on the person on the receiving end, as well as the wider discipline, why does this kind of behaviour happen in the first place?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 08:32

So there are many reasons for that. I mean, the bullying happens actually, when we have power differences. And unfortunately, in academia, they have a unique power difference structures.

If you look at the universities, when an international student basically comes to a lab, many of the major decisions about the careers and also their residency in the lab, gets limited to one person, which is a PI.

So people at higher level of power feel less accountable about their actions and behaviours. If, like a bullying cases get kind of escalated at the lab level, and the target basically complains to department chair or other authorities at the universities, the outcomes that at least we see from scandals that comes to the news are very disappointing, and encourage basically perpetrators to do what they do. And also encourage targets to use the code of silence.

For example, in many cases of academic bullying that comes to the news, specifically like a couple of cases that basically they witnessed last year, the situation is that the perpetrator does bullying behaviour for even a couple of decades.

There were like hundreds of targets, who a portion of them complained to the university and nothing happened. Basically perpetrators got protected for a variety of reasons. For example, one reason is that their interest is intertwined with university’s interest. They bring huge amount of money and funding to the university. Universities gets overhead. So they basically sweep the case under the carpet,

It sends a clear signal to perpetrators that they are protected. They can do whatever they want to do, and another negative signals to target that it's better to use the code of silence

Adam Levy: 10:47

Given all of that. it might seem almost a bit helpless to someone who does find themselves on the receiving end of bullying. What actions can someone actually take if they are in this situation, being bullied by someone in the academic workplace, especially when that might be a superior, someone with power over them?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 11:08

So the first thing is that they should detect and identify academic bullying at the first place. The second part is to document everything. Academic bullies are clever. They barely leave trace of their actions.

So every single chance that basically a target can get to document, they need to document that. If someone is witness, they basically need to also collect their names, their ideas. The third important thing is collective actions.

So it would be great that they basically find allies and look for others that are in the, in the same situation. So this helps a lot.

The other thing is to inform themselves, or basically educate themselves, about the internal and external resources that are available to them to get help.

For example, one of the trusted resources is ombudsofficers, getting consultation from legal bodies, for example. They can consult with a lawyer about the situation.

Be aware of retaliation of any kind, which is unfortunately very common in the case of, like, academic bullying. Try to see what happened to other people at the same cases, and have Plan B in mind.

Adam Levy: 12:38

Now, how is all of this limited when there are serious risks to the career of the academic when they would speak out? For example, I’m speaking about maybe foreign students whose visa depends on them continuing their degree with their supervisor.

Morteza Mahmoudi: 12:56

Yeah, that’s unfortunately the sad reality.

The outcomes of our global survey, which we have done in 2019, and we received over 2000 responses to that, reveal that one of the main reasons that targets try to use code of silence instead of speaking up, is the fear of retaliation.

The examples like I mentioned, that came to the news shows that when a person basically complain, they receive serious direct or indirect mobbing which is basically ganging up against targets.

But at the same time, the recent awareness about the issue of academic polling basically forced other stakeholders to come in and take some actions.

For example, funding agencies now have a direct line for targets to basically report any abuse they receive, if the PIs are funded by that particular agency. One thing I always emphasize for international students is to be proactive about the lab that they want to do the research.

So if they try to reach out to the former lab members, they can get useful feedback.

So by being proactive, they can actually evaluate the lab health prior to joining a lab.

Adam Levy: 14:30

That note of doing research before moving a lab is actually something we touched on in a previous series of this podcast when we were discussing moving labs.

But a lot of what we’ve been talking about just now has been about what the victim of bullying can do if they find themselves in that situation.

What about third parties, people who perhaps witnessed this kind of behaviour taking place?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 14:55

Yeah, so first of all, I would like to change the word of victim to target.

It’s important because victim has kind of a negative feeling to the, to the basically target. Anyway, a witness can basically do a lot of things.

They can interfere with the situation to basically change the direction of the discussion. They can report what they witness, at least to the trusted internal resources, like to the ombudsperson. They can basically back up the claims of the targets, if they decide to speak up. There’s a kind of risk. But if they take the risk and want to report they can have a great effect.

Adam Levy: 15:44

As you’ve shared, a big part of why bullying and harassment are so commonplace is because there are all these structures in place which which effectively protect the bullier. What should institutions change in how they handle these kinds of cases?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 16:01

So institutions and universities by its own basically, have limited intention to fairly consider the cases of academic bullying and harassment. What we are basically advocating for is making a platform that all of the involved, the stakeholders, can be responsible and response able for those cases.

For example, if funding agencies gets involved in the cases, and they basically ban universities that have higher rate of bullying cases from funding they provide, then universities are forced to take more fair actions about, like those issues.

The other thing is to better understand the long-term effects of academic bullying and harassment on institutions and also on science.

The long-term side effect is far beyond the target. It causes many talented scientists to leave academia. It can cause data fabrication, because in many cases that the basically witness and reach to the reports, bowling was the initial force, to targets to fabricate data. And the other important stakeholders that needs to be involved, I think, are taxpayers.

All of the costs of the perpetrators are being covered by the university’s lawyer, which are basically taxpayers’ money and funding.

The other thing I think is very important that needs to be carefully considered in the field of academic bullying and harassment, is the accountability of the investigation, internal investigation committees, who basically made those decisions and what responsibilities they have over the decisions.

Adam Levy: 18:07

What does it mean to you purely on a personal level, to be able to carry out this work to try and address academic bullying and harassment?

Morteza Mahmoudi: 18:17

As a scientist and as a building block of the scientific community, we want to basically do something that matters. If the universities can’t handle the bullying and harassment, because it’s very unfortunate, but again, it’s a reality, that if targets of academic bullying and harassment remains unhealed, there’s a great risk that they would be a future bullies when they basically get to the power position.

So honestly, I get paid, like, for my works in nanomedicine, and regenerative medicine. But I value the work I do volunteering on, like, academic bullying and harassment, because I see in real time that it helps targets of academic bullying, and it may help the field to kind of move forward in creating a platform that finally all of their stakeholders and decision-makers and gatekeepers basically, can feel responsible and response able to finally put an end on this age-old issue.

Adam Levy: 19:32

Morteza Mahmoudi there. We mentioned in previous episodes that this series would be in seven parts, and this is indeed the seventh episode.

But in producing the series, in particular this episode, we’ve realized there’s just too much to say to fit it all in.

And so we'll be returning to the topic of harassment and misconduct in science in an episode coming soon, where we'll look specifically at the devastation that sexual harassment and assault can have on researchers, and on research.

That episode should be out in a couple of weeks. So make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss it. Until then, thanks for listening. I’m Adam Levy.

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154 Bullying Topics & Bullying Essay Examples

Looking for an exciting research topic about bullying? This problem is very controversial, sensitive, and definitely worth studying

🏆 Top 10 Bullying Topics for Research Papers

📃 bullying essay: writing tips, 🏆 best bullying topics to write about, ⚡ most shocking bullying topics to write about, ✅ simple & easy shocking bullying essay titles, ✍️ bullying essay topics for college, ❓ research questions about bullying.

Examples of bullying can be found everywhere: in schools, workplaces, and even on the Internet (in the form of cyberbullying).

In this article, we’ve collected top bullying research paper topics and questions, as well as bullying essay samples and writing tips. Get inspired with us!

  • Direct and indirect bullying: compare & contrast
  • The causes of bullying
  • Classroom bullying and its effects
  • Social isolation as a form of bullying
  • Bullying and academic performance
  • Passive and active victims of bullying: compare and contrast
  • The role of social agencies in bullying prevention
  • Public policy for bullying and aggression
  • Bullying behavior and psychological health
  • Aggressive children and their family background

A bullying essay is a popular assignment in various subjects, including psychology, sociology, and education. Writing an excellent paper on the matter requires more than just in-depth research and planning. Don’t worry; there are some tips that will make writing an essay on bullying much easier:

  • Choose a topic that allows analyzing and interpreting the problem. Instead of merely describing what bullying is, try to dig deeper into its causes, consequences, and solutions. If your professor didn’t suggest any topics, you may research bullying essay topics online and select one that would be exciting for you to explore.
  • Read sample articles and papers online to see how other students approached the subject. Notice the bits that work and don’t work, and write them out to make the process of creating your essay easier. If you’re struggling with finding enough examples online, you may want to expand your search to discrimination essay topics and materials.
  • Research what scholars say about bullying. Articles in scholarly journals are an excellent source of information because they are usually trustworthy. If you’re still in school, your ability to navigate the library or online databases will also impress your tutor. As you start researching, you will find that there is a great variety of studies, and it’s challenging to find the relevant ones. Narrowing down your search would help you to do that. For instance, if you are writing a cyber bullying essay, try searching for social media bullying or online anti-bullying services.
  • Include real-life experiences where relevant. Unfortunately, bullying is a common problem in many institutions, and if you haven’t experienced it, your friends or family members probably have. If your tutor allows personal input, explore real-life experiences with bullying. Note the effects, preventive measures that worked or didn’t work, and what a person used to cope with bullying. If personal input is not allowed, you could ask your friends or relatives for ideas and then find high-quality sources that discuss similar problems.
  • If you can, be creative about it! A powerful bullying essay example draws from a variety of sources to present material in a creative way and engage readers. Hence, this might be an excellent opportunity for you to include images or graphs in your paper. For example, anti-bullying posters could complement the sections of your work that talks about solutions to the problem. Quotes about bullying coming from famous persons would also be influential, especially if you include them at the beginning of your piece. If you like drawing or painting, you could try to put some of your ideas in graphic form – this will definitely earn you some extra marks! Just make sure to check with your tutor to see whether or not creative input is allowed.
  • Structure your paper well to avoid gaps or inconsistencies. It would be beneficial to create a detailed bullying essay outline before you start working. A typical essay should include an introduction, two to three main paragraphs, and a conclusion. The first paragraph of your work should consist of some background information, whereas the last one should restate the points and close up the paper. A good bullying essay introduction should also feature a thesis statement that shows what the piece is about.

These tips will help you to write top-notch essays on bullying, as well as on related subjects. Don’t forget to browse our blog some more to find other helpful materials, including essay titles!

  • The Problem of Bullying and Possible Solutions In general, bullying is a critical and complex issue prevailing among children; thus, it is essential to adopt different solutions to tackle it.
  • Cyber Bullying Issue Therefore, the goal of this paper is to analyse who the victims of cyber bullying are and the influence it has on them.
  • Bullying and Child Development Bullying is one of the common vices in schools that influences a lot of growth and development of children. Bullying also affects the ability of children to concentrate in school because they are always on […]
  • Bullying and Its Effects in Society Secondary research is critical in the development of a background to the research, which helps in determining the validity of the problem and suggested research methodologies.
  • School Bullying and Moral Development The middle childhood is marked by the development of basic literacy skills and understanding of other people’s behavior that would be crucial in creating effective later social cognitions. Therefore, addressing bullying in schools requires strategies […]
  • Social Influence on Bullying in Schools The theory helps us to understand why the stronger members of the school population are likely to “rule” over the weaker members of the school as described in the social hierarchy concept in the theory.
  • The Impact of Workplace Bullying The negative impacts of bullying in the workplace develop as a result of ignorance among employees regarding the vice, unreported cases, as well as the negligence of organizational leaders.
  • Is Cyber Bullying Against Teenagers More Detrimental Than Face-To-Face Bullying? Social networking has also contributed greatly to the issue of cyber bullying especially in making it more harmful as compared to face-to-face bullying.
  • Cyber Bullying and Positivist Theory of Crime Learning theory approaches to the explanation of criminal behavior have been associated with one of the major sociological theories of crime, the differential association theory.
  • Verbal Bullying at School: How It Should Be Stopped This paper highlights some of the best practices that can be used by teachers in order to address this problem. So, this information can be of great benefit to them.
  • Social Psychological Concepts of Bullying and Its Types Some of the factors that contribute to bullying include poor parenting, economic challenges, lack of mentorship, and jealousy among others. One of the main concepts used to explain bullying is that of parenting roles and […]
  • Bullying in School Face-to-face bullying is an interesting area of study because it clearly demonstrates bullying in school. Students consider bullying as a school culture even though it is contrary to the school rules and regulations of schools.
  • Cyber-Bullying Is a Crime: Discussion It is easy to see the effects of cyber-bullying but it is hard to find out who is the bully making it hard for authorities to pin the blame on the perpetrator of a crime […]
  • The Issue of Bullying in the Schools It gives me joy to know that the issue of bullying is now a pubic affair since bullying stories were unheard of when I was growing up.
  • Bullying on Social Media Platforms It is consistent and repeating, taking advantage of the Internet’s anonymity with the main goal to anger, scare, or shame a victim.
  • School Bullying: Causes and Police Prevention It is for this reason that there has been need for the intervention of the community and the government to address the issue of bullying schools lest the school environment becomes the worst place to […]
  • Moral Development and Bullying in Children The understanding of moral development following the theories of Kohlberg and Gilligan can provide useful solutions to eliminating bullying in American schools.
  • The Effects of Cyber-Bullying and Cyber-Stalking on the Society In particular, one should focus on such issues as the disrespect for a person’s autonomy, the growing intensity of domestic violence and deteriorating mental health in the country.
  • The ABC Model of Crisis: Bullying at School The next step is the identification of the nature of the crisis, and thus questions are as follows: Who is bullying you?
  • Fights and Bullying Among Middle School Learners Alongside the positivist philosophy, the research adopted the survey strategy that involved the use of self-administered questionnaires to collect from the participants.
  • Problem of Childhood Bullying in Modern Society To begin with, the family which is the basic and the most important unit in the society as well as the primary socializing agent plays a major role in shaping behavior of children include bullying.
  • Bullying and Harassment in the Healthcare Workplace This paper is written to explore the origins of discrimination and harassment in the healthcare workplace. Bullying begins early in medical college and residencies; it has been referred to as an element of the learning […]
  • Workplace Bullying and Its Impact on Performance Workplace bullying refers to a deliberate, repeated, and continuous mistreatment of a worker or a group of workers by one or more colleagues in the workplace.
  • Bullying and Cyberbullying in Modern Society Cyberbullying among adolescents and teenagers is defined as the purposeful and repetitive harm done by one or more peers in cyberspace as a result of using digital devices and social media platforms.
  • Incivility, Violence, and Bullying in the Healthcare Workplace The following step is to gather the team and communicate the necessity of change, assigning some individuals for the positions related to the change, in other terms, a support team.
  • Bullying as a Relational Aggression This resistance has been one of the obstacles to eliminating the cyber bullying in the schools. Schools and districts have been involved in the Challenge Day activities where children are advised on how to handle […]
  • Bullying in the Workplace Organizational leaders have an ethical obligation to ensure that they deal with cases of bullying within the workplace in a professional manner that demonstrates equality, honesty, and high sensitivity to the needs of others.
  • Cyber Bullying as a Virtual Menace The use of information and communication technologies to support a deliberate and most of the time repeated hostile behavior by an individual or groups of people with the sole intention of harming others, one is […]
  • Character Traits of Bullying Despite the fact that such characteristics may differ from child to child, it is the common feature of difference that makes the target children get noticed by the bullies.
  • Bullying in Schools: Worldwide Study and Survey The parents were asked to rate the frequency of the bullying that their children experience and to describe the experience of bullying that their children went through.
  • The Essence of Bullying: Healthy Societal Relations The aggressor frequently abuses the victim’s lower social standing to gain control of the situation and cause harm, which is another characteristic of the phenomenon.
  • Bullying: Violence in Children and Adolescents Bullying is one of the most common manifestations of peer violence in children and adolescents. Prevention of bullying, cyberbullying included, has to occur in accordance with the IBSE Standards of social and emotional learning.
  • Bullying, Its Forms, and Counteractions In addition, it is necessary to support those at the center of this bullying, as this can protect them from harmful effects and consequences.
  • Effective Ways to Deal With Bullying in US Schools Teachers should ensure the bully is aware of the improper behavior, why it is improper, and the repercussions of the behavior.
  • The Gay Teen Suicide & Bullying The article explains that the ones who survive may have access to extensive facilities, support, and status beyond their world of bullies, which sounds reasonable for me.
  • Bullying in Nursing: Preventive Measures The prevention of bullying within the workplace is the responsibility of the leaders and managers. One of the significant principles which the leaders can implement is the behavioral code for the employees.
  • Network Bullying: School Policy Framework The first step is to have a careful conversation with the student and an assessment by the school psychologist to ensure that there is a fright.
  • How to Reduce Bullying in Senior Facilities One of the main reasons an individual may commit suicide due to bullying is because it may make an individual develop a negative self-image after the bullying incident. Some of the major bullying incidences that […]
  • Active Shooter and Nursing Bullying Nurses should lock all doors and use tables and other objects to reinforce them to prevent any possibility of the active shooter getting to the patients’ room.
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  • Bullying Through Social Media: Methods An Informed Consent Document will be provided to participants prior to the research, explaining the purpose of the study and promising to protect their identity.
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  • Bullying of Nurses During the COVID-19 Pandemic Then, the principles of adult learning will be used to develop and implement an information product to improve the nursing workforce’s bullying awareness and the knowledge of healthy conflict resolution in the workplace.
  • Bullying in Healthcare Organizations: Impact on Nursing Practice Bullying in business entities is a common phenomenon, but the extent of its influence on the “production process” in healthcare and medicine institutions is only beginning to be recognized.
  • Workplace Bullying Among Nurses in the Acute Setting Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequency of conflicts between nurses and their colleagues and managers has increased significantly in my workplace.
  • Bullying Perpetration Among School-Aged Children Mucherah et al.examined how the school climate and teachers’ sanctions against bullying relate to the risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of bullying.
  • Programming for a Year 5 Class on Bullying As a result, in Lesson 6, they will offer their project addressing bullying behaviour and present it to their class, which is the main aim of the Unit Plan.
  • Injury and Violence Prevention: – Bullying The aim of preventing injury and violence from bullying is to enable the student to have a healthy social and physical life that will enable them to perform well in their studies and live healthily.
  • Cyber-Bullying vs. Traditional Bullying: Its Psychological Effects The researchers presented the recent statistics in order to illustrate the negative social and psychological effects of cyber-bullying in contrast to the traditional bullying in schools.
  • Bullying in the Workplace Old Nurse to New Nurse This unvoiced scourge in nursing is characteristically encouraged by the need of bullies to have a total control of a person. Resignation of nurses due to bullying can lead to shortage of nurses in hospitals.
  • Bullying and Peer Abuse Especially at work, targets fear coming to work and this will have an adverse result in the efficiency of the staff in the hospital.
  • Bullying in the Nursing Workplace Bullying in the nursing workplace, in this case, causes the one bullied to have a feeling of defenselessness and takes away the nurses’ right to dignity at his or her workplace.
  • Cyberbullying and Bullying: Similarities While deciding on fitting and balanced sanctions, it is vital to reflect on the ways in which cyberbullying events differ in effect in comparison to other forms of bullying.
  • Protection From Bullying: Methods That Work Because of this, it is vital that parents, teachers, and guardians educate themselves on the nature of bullying and work together to develop effective methods and strategies that would help to overcome the problem.
  • Psychology: Social Media and Bullying The purpose of this paper is to discuss the issue of social media and bullying and express the author’s opinion on the matter.
  • Bullying of LGBTQ Students in American Schools The chosen article focuses on the issue of bullying of LGBTQ students in American schools and its legal repercussions. The author shows that students who are openly gay or bi, as well as those who […]
  • Workplace Bullying and Its Impact on People and Society The paper follows a traditional structure with the introduction and body paragraphs that provide essential information devoted to the problem, and improve the understanding of the concept of bullying.
  • “Bullying Behavior Among Radiation Therapists” by Johnson and Trad The literature review encompassed a considerable number of sources pertinent to the study and recent enough to be relevant; all the publications were dated within the last fifteen years.
  • Human Rights Issues in Australia: Bullying Among School-Going Age and Young People The focus of the topic of the day is on bullying. It is used to prevent or avoid the occurrence of a bullying experience.
  • Bullying and Worker’s Harassment in Western Australia In most of the armed services in Australia, new recruits and women are commonly the victims of bullying and harassment despite the fact that it is unacceptable.
  • Aggression and Bullying in the Workplace Investigation Aggression, the effects of which are often equated with the death wish, is an instinct like any other and in natural conditions, it helps just as much as any other to ensure the survival of […]
  • Bullying: History and Mechanisms for Prevention Students are encouraged to not participate in bullying and to help prevent bullying of others through positive social reactions to incidences of bullying” and Sharing of Scenarios: “Each group will give feedback and share other […]
  • Behaviour Management: Bullying The typical behaviors which I saw in the child who got bullied are: The victim of this bullying is physically weak and a soft-natured one.
  • Conflict Resolution Tactics and Bullying This study is interesting to the extent that it shows how the social environment impacts the development of a child and how it shapes his or her conflict resolution techniques.
  • School Bullying: Case Analysis Even today there is no generally accepted definition of bullying but it is thought that when an individual is for a long period of time is exposed to repeat negative actions and behavior by one […]
  • Bullying in the Workplace as a Psychological Harassment Another form of bullying in the workplace is physical assault in the sense that if the workers are not at ease with each other and when the rules and regulations are not at all observed, […]
  • “Adolescents’ Perception of Bullying” by Frisen et al. The second and the third aims of the study were “to describe how adolescents perceive bullies” and “to describe what adolescents believe to be important in order to stop bullying”, respectively.
  • The Long Term Effects of Bullying in Elementary School Wolke and Lereya argue that the problem is that the majority of studies on bullying are cross-sectional and only use follow-ups after a short period of time.
  • Anti-Bullying and Work Quality Improvement Initiative Given the specifics of the work of nurses, conflicts of this kind negatively affect both the whole process of work and the health of patients in particular.
  • Workplace Bullying, Salivary Cortisol and Long-Term Sickness Absence The purpose of this cohort-based study was to investigate the extent to which cortisol levels were associated with sickness absence and the relationships between workplace bullying and sickness absence through the prism of cortisol use.
  • Workplace Bullying in Australia It is possible to offer several recommendations that can reduce the risk of bullying in organisations. In this case, more attention should be paid to the absence of mechanisms that can protect the victims of […]
  • Domestic Violence and Bullying in Schools It also states the major variables related to bullying in schools. They will confirm that social-economic status, gender, and race can contribute to bullying in schools.
  • Staff Training as a Solution to Workplace Bullying Furthermore, it has an appeal to logos as the writer has facts about the prevalence of workplace bullying in the USA.
  • The “Bully-Free” Initiative: Bullying in Education The students need to have a clear idea that bullying goes against the rules of the school and which actions may be considered bullying.
  • Free Speech vs. Bullying Laws One of the topical aspects of modern democracy is the freedom of speech expressed in an ability to come up with personal ideas and the lack of restrictions on the right of expression through publicity.
  • Gender and Bullying Issues in Nursing A lack of tolerance for workplace harassment and bullying is likely to lead to the deterioration of the situation and further misunderstanding and tension in an organization.
  • Bullying and Cyberbullying Among Peers They are facing the dilemma of how to react, whether they have to fight a superior force of the enemy or to complain to teachers and parents, undermining their reputation.
  • Bullying in Schools and Its Major Reasons As of now, the most important goal in research studies covering the topic of bullying in schools is to understand the mechanisms behind bullying promotion and prevention.
  • Bullying Prevention Programs Some teachers and professors claim that their students cannot show their potential in their hobbies due to the limitations they experience because of bullies around them. As it is mentioned above, educators do not control […]
  • Bullying and Its Impact Thus, the current paper is dedicated to the issue of bullying and its effects as well as anti-bullying practices as related to peer victimization.
  • Dealing With Workplace Bullying According to the report presented by the University of Louisville, workplace bullying is a repeated action of one employee or a group of employees towards another individual or group. Dealing with bullying in the workplace […]
  • Bullying Policies in Walton School District and Georgia University The sample bullying policy language in Walton School District is very similar to the language in the policy of the University of Georgia.
  • Amanda Todd’s Bullying and Suicide Story She was fifteen years old, and her story created a major uproar in the press, as it showed the true nature of bullying and the effects it has on the person.
  • Bullying in America: Causes and Prevention That is why it is important to pay attention to the reasons why bullying occurs and ways in which it can be reduced.
  • Bullying, Facts and Countermeasures Whether it is the bully or the bullied, the parents will need to do a lot to see to it that their children are brought up in the best of the behaviors.
  • Bullying as Social and Criminal Deviance The most important step in the student’s guide to research that I would need to analyze bullying is defining the topic.
  • Bullying and Legislation in Australian Workplace According to the authors of the article, workplace bullying can be characterized as internal violence. According to the authors of the article, bullying is a widespread phenomenon and is a common attribute of many organizations.
  • Bullying at Australian School: Causes and Solution The technological breakthrough that was witnessed in the late 90s and the early 2000s also contributed to the development of the phenomenon, sparking the concepts such as cyberbullying and online bullying.
  • Workplace Bullying in The Playground Never Ends The primary reason for becoming a bully is primarily seen in fear to lose authority or formal positions in an organization and have more institutional power than that of the targets.
  • Bullying and Suicide in High Schools The main limitation of this research is that the scholars surveyed the victims more often. The victims of cyberbullying also had a tendency to be depressed and contemplate suicide.
  • School-Aged Children’ Bullying Behaviors It is due to this that the work of Janssen et al.sought to show just how potentially damaging this behavior could be and the potential psychological repercussions it could have on young children due to […]
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  • Childhood Bullying and Adulthood Suicide Connection In this regard, the seriousness of the issue is depicted in research results that indicate that at least 50% of children and youth in the US have experienced bullying situations as either bullies or victims […]
  • Girl-To-Girl Bullying and Mean Stinks Program The positive results can be achieved by the implementation of the multiple educational programs, the increase in public awareness, and promotion of the values of the healthy relationships.”Mean Stinks” is exactly the program with the […]
  • Association of Parenting Factors With Bullying The lack of the parental support is the main cause of students’ deviant behaviors at school, including the cases of bullying, and those parents who pay much attention to developing their career cannot provide the […]
  • The Problem of Workplace Bullying In particular, this paper will include the discussion of the research articles, reports and case studies that describe the causes of workplace bullying and the strategies used by companies in an effort to overcome it.
  • College Students: Suicide and Bullying The misconception that bullying is a minor issue among college students has contributed to the high number of students who suffer because of bullying.
  • Homosexual Students and Bullying Specifically, the section addresses the prevalence of bullying in schools and the level of bullying in bisexuals, gay males, and lesbians.
  • Social Psychology of Violence and Bullying in Schools Bullying is a common phenomenon in schools and it is reported that it results in violence in learning institutions in the end.
  • Bullying and Suicide: The Correlation Between Bullying and Suicide Nonetheless, the extensive research shows that the correlation exists and bullying is one of the risk factors for development of suicidal ideas in adolescents.
  • Nature of Bullying In this paper, central focus is going to be on the nature of bullying of children in my hometown, Orlando Florida, how it can be solved, and most importantly; establishing the importance of having knowledge […]
  • Cyber Bullying Reduction Program Table of Activities Activity Significance Assembling parents/guardians, students and teachers to announce and explain the program in the institution To enlighten parents/guardians, students and teachers about the rules and regulation enacted due to the threat […]
  • Cyber Bullying Prevention in Learning Institutions: Systematic Approach To start with, the students are provided with ways of reporting their concern to the educational institution, and when the staff members of the institution receive the report, they evaluate the information together with the […]
  • Discouraging and Eliminating Cyber Bullying Resources Role of the resource/input Statement forms To facilitate information transfer to the staff Counseling Personnel To arm students against the problem Bullying report system To create efficient internet enhance report system Regulation implementation documents […]
  • School Bullying: Methods for Managing the Problem The investigation of relevant studies on the methods for stopping school bullying reveals that the most effective ways of eliminating this type of behavior include providing training for teachers, encouraging students to participate in the […]
  • High School Bullying Effective Responses Emphasis will also be made on the kind of audience to read this article because the contents of this study need to be at par with other similar articles in the journal to be selected.
  • Bullying and Suicide Among Teenagers Specific objectives Analyze the causes of bullying among teenagers in the country Analyze the effects of bullying among victims, perpetrators and by-standers Analyze the relationship between bullying in school and suicide among teenagers in the […]
  • Social Bullying in Jeff Cohen’s “Monster Culture” It is clear that his part of character is mostly dominant in the childhood stages, as children are not able to develop a sense of morality and predict the consequences of their actions.
  • Cyber Bullying and Its Forms The difference between the conventional way of bullying and cyber bullying is that in conventional bullying, there is contact between the bully and the victim.
  • Problem of Workplace Bullying Authority intervention should occur when the employees fail to respond to awareness intervention, and thus decide to continue with their behaviors.
  • Problem of the Managing Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace Employees in an organization have a specific role that they are supposed to play and this means that there might be shortcomings which should not lead to bullying.
  • Does Bullying Cause Emotional Problems? However, the current study was relevant because of this design, for the scope of the study covered as well as the results were accurate, and the conclusions drawn were correct.
  • Ban High School Bullying A number of stakeholders contribute to the high prevalence of bullying in American schools. Schools that ignore bullying are a big part of the problem and they need to be held accountable.
  • The Problem of Bullying While most states in the United States of America have laws to protect people from bullying, the federal government is yet to enact an anti-bullying law.
  • Ethical Case: Facebook Gossip or Cyberbullying? The best option to Paige is to apologize publicly and withdraw her comments. The final stage is to act and reflect the outcome of the choice made.
  • Bullying on the Rise: Should Federal Government Enact Federal-Bullying Laws? This paper will thus use both primary and secondary data to discuss the prevalence of bullying in schools and whether the federal govern should enact federal laws to curb the social vice at school.
  • Bullying in the Schools Furthermore, the law states that training should be done to the teachers as well as the other members of staff on how to deal with bullying and the law also needs the schools to report […]
  • Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying His lowered self-esteem would make him to observe the common behaviours of the older boys quietly and accept the situation as a cultural practice.
  • Workplace bullying: does it exist?
  • What are the three key elements of bullying?
  • How does bullying affect those who observe it?
  • Direct and indirect bullying: what is the difference?
  • What families do bullies typically come from?
  • Aggressive children: what is their future?
  • How to prevent bullying in schools?
  • School bullying and domestic violence: is there a connection?
  • Cyberbullying: how to prevent it?
  • What can parents do to prevent their children from bullying?
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International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN : 0951-354X

Article publication date: 13 August 2018

The high prevalence of bullying in South African schools in recent times is a cause for serious concern. Bullying is traumatic and has a painful, corrosive and damaging impact on children, families and society. Hence, curbing the problem before it spirals out of control in secondary schools requires immediate urgent attention from all stakeholders of the school. The purpose of this paper is to report on part of the investigation done for a doctoral thesis (Singh, 2016), which looked at the factors contributing to bullying perpetration in secondary schools and on the basis of the findings, recommend a model that may be used to curb bullying in secondary schools. A qualitative research design was used to investigate the problem through an interview process with participants from secondary schools, as well as a circuit manager from the Uthungulu district of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings confirmed that the problem of bullying emanated at the level of the family, the school and the community. The paper concludes with the provision of a model to manage and curb bullying in these secondary schools.


A qualitative research approach, in particular a case study design, was selected to give a clear understanding of participants’ views and experiences (Johnson and Christensen, 2011; Mason, 2013). The design involved a social constructivist paradigm, which was primarily concerned with meaning and understanding people’s “lived experiences” and “inner-worlds” in the context of the conditions and circumstances of their lives, which in this particular instance was bullying in secondary schools, occurring within a social context, which was the school (Johnson and Christensen, 2011). Purposeful sampling was used to identify five secondary schools in the Uthungulu district of KwaZulu-Natal where the problem of bullying was most prevalent principals at circuit and district-level meetings complained about the high incidence of bullying perpetration in their schools.

This paper highlights the findings in respect of the factors contributing to bullying perpetration in schools and presents a management model to curb bullying in secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal. Factors contributing to bullying: the findings from the empirical investigation avowed that the three key factors contributing significantly to bullying behaviour are located at the level of the family, the school and the community. First, influence at family level: “60–70 per cent of our learners come from broken homes”. An overwhelming majority of participants in all five secondary schools attributed the escalation of bullying in schools directly to the influence at the family level. Broken homes, poor upbringing, the absence of positive role models and the influence of media violence on learners have had a negative impact on the culture of discipline, teaching and learning in the classroom and the general ethos of schools. Second, influence at school level: “the foremost problem here is peer pressure”. An overwhelming number of participants identified several factors at the school level that contributed to bullying in secondary schools. Learner 3 (School A) highlighted the problem of peer pressure and the need to belong to a group as a critical factor in advancing bullying in schools. Third, influence at community level: “they come from that violent environment”. Participants explained that the absence of after-school programmes and a lack of facilities, particularly in rural communities, misdirected youngsters into engaging in other destructive vices such as forming gangs and indulging in drugs and alcohol, to keep themselves occupied.


Various studies have been conducted in South Africa to understand the phenomenon of bullying and violence in South African schools. While the current body of research highlights the problem of bullying in schools and provides some guidelines on what measures may be adopted to address the problem, the suggested methods are not effective enough, resulting in the problem continuing unabated. This study therefore suggests a model to manage and curb bullying in secondary schools in South Africa.

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Steyn, G.M. and Singh, G.D. (2018), "Managing bullying in South African secondary schools: a case study", International Journal of Educational Management , Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 1029-1040. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-09-2017-0248

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Indian government initiatives on cyberbullying: A case study on cyberbullying in Indian higher education institutions

  • Published: 04 July 2022
  • Volume 28 , pages 581–615, ( 2023 )

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case study essay about bullying

  • Manpreet Kaur   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7680-3075 1 &
  • Munish Saini   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4129-2591 1  

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In the digitally empowered society, increased internet utilization leads to potential harm to the youth through cyberbullying on various social networking platforms. The cyberbullying stats keep on rising each year, leading to detrimental consequences. In response to this online threat, the Indian Government launched different helplines, especially for the children and women who need assistance, various complaint boxes, cyber cells, and made strict legal provisions to curb online offenses. This research evaluates the relevant initiatives. Additionally, a survey is conducted to get insights into cyberbullying in higher education institutions, discussing multiple factors responsible for youth and adolescents being cyberbullied and a few measures to combat it in universities/colleges.

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1 Introduction

Cyberbullying is harassment done to the victim to cause harm via any electronic method, including social media resulting in defamation, public disclosure of private facts, and intentional emotional distress (Watts et al., 2017 ). It can be related to sending and posting cruel texts or images with the help of social media and other digital communication devices to harm a victim (Washington, 2015 ). It is a repeated behavior done by the individual with the help of social media, over the gaming, and messaging platforms that target mainly to lower the victims' self-esteem.

In the past decade, Cyberbullying has been an emerging phenomenon that has a socio-psychological impact on adolescents. With the advancement of digital technology, youth is more attached to social media, resulting in cyberbullying. With the increasing usage of techno-savvy gadgets, social media applications are highly prevalent among the youth, which can be advantageous and disadvantageous. It allows sharing posts, photos, and messages personally and privately among friends, while on the other hand, it involves an increase in cyberbullying by creating fake accounts on the apps (Ansary, 2020 ).

In July 2021, 4,80 billion people worldwide were on social media, that's almost 61% of the world's total population depicting an annual growth of 5.7% as 7 lac new users join per day (Digital Around the World, 2021 ). As the number of users increases, there is a surge in cyberbullying; according to a UNICEF poll, more than 33% of youngsters are reported as victims of online bullying in 30 countries worldwide (UNICEF, 2020 ). Moreover, it is seen that one in five has skipped school due to fear of cyberbullying and violence. According to NCRB, 50,035 cases of cybercrime were reported in India in the year 2020, among which 1614 cases of cyberstalking, 762 cases of cyber blackmailing, 84 cases of defamation, 247 cases of fake profiles, and 838 cases of fake news were investigated. NCRB data Footnote 1 reported that cybercrimes in India increased by 63.48% (27248 cases to 44548 cases) from 2018 to 2019, which upsurged by 12.32% in 2020 (44548 cases to 50035cases).

Multiple cases of cyberbullying were reported across the country. As per news reports, in November 2016, a 23-year-old Ooshmal Ullas, MBBS student of KMCT Medical College in Mukkam, Kerala, committed suicide by jumping due to being cyberbullied over a Facebook post and injured her spine, legs, and head. Footnote 2 One more incident was reported on 9 January 2018 where a 20 years old Hindu woman killed herself after facing harassment on WhatsApp over her friendship with a Muslim man in Karnataka. Footnote 3 Another case was witnessed, a 15-year-old boy connected with the 'Bois locker room', an Instagram group where they share photos of minor girls and exchange lewd comments, was arrested by Delhi police on 4 May 2020. Footnote 4 An incident occurred on 26 June 2014 a 17 years old girl committed suicide after Satish and Deepak, her friends, morphed her photos and posted them on Facebook along with her cell phone number. Footnote 5 Many such cases are reported every year, and this rising number of suicides due to cyberbullying is alarming and worrisome.

The primary cause of cyberbullying is anonymity, in which a bully can easily target anyone over the internet by hiding their original identity. The psychological features play an eminent role in determining whether a person is a victim or a bully. A pure bully has a high level of aggression and needs succorance, whereas the pure victim has high levels of interception, empathy, and nurturance (Watts et al., 2017 ). It has been found that various factors are responsible for becoming a cyberbully. According to Tanrikulu (Tanrikulu & Erdur-Baker, 2021 ), Personality traits are responsible for cyberbullying behavior. The primary cause is online inhibition, in which a person bullies others with the motives of harm, domination, revenge, or entertainment. Other causes are moral disengagement as the findings imply that, regardless of the contemporaneous victimization status, moral disengagement has an equal impact on bullying perpetration for those who are most engaged. Pure bullies have more moral disengagement than those bullies/victims who aren't as active in bullying (Runions et al., 2019 ). The next one is Narcissism , which means individuals consider social status and authority dominant over their human relations. The last is aggression, which refers to overcoming negativities and failures by force, triggering them to do cyberbullying for satisfaction. Similarly, there are some personality traits associated with cyberbullying participants as a study (Ngo et al., 2021 ) examined three groups of online users where the first one is the "Intervene" group which believes in uplifting the morale of victims by responding to cyberbullying acts while others are the "Ignore" group that doesn't involve in reacting to the cyberbullying acts and just ignores the victims or leave the cyberspace and the third one is "Join in" that either promote the bullying or just enjoy watching cyberbullying act without any participation. The adolescents belonging to intervene group may play a critical role in reducing cyberbullying behavior and its consequences.

Social acceptance also plays a vital role in reducing bullying. It has been observed that among students who lack socialization activity, an individual contributes a high incidence rate of bullying that leads to victimization. Yubero carried out a study that depicts individuals feeling more comfortable in online environments that are not accepted by their peers and hence are more exposed to cyberbullying victimization. Apart from this, the relationship between loneliness and cyberbullying is more prevalent because lonely youth devote quality of time to the internet hence facing cyberbullying (Yubero et al., 2017 ). In this situation, students could either defend themselves or rely on cyber bystander intervention. A cyber bystander is one offering assistance to the victim, either individually or socially, and they are more inclined to act if they feel more empathy (Wang, 2021 ). Since interfering publicly may have detrimental consequences, cyber bystanders are more worried about being retaliated against or being the next victim.

Parental support and monitoring also help to escape cyberbullying victimization. It has been observed that parents who employed autonomy-supportive measures, such as understanding the adolescent's viewpoint, providing alternatives, and giving justifications for prohibitions, had youngsters who reported lower cyberbullying than parents who used dominating measures (especially using guilt, shame, and conditional regard) (Legate et al., 2019 ).

Cyberbullying is one of the significant problems that need to be eradicated. Due to cyberbullying, youngsters face many issues related to their health like depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and even it leads to low academic performance, etc. Several aspects are considered responsible for cyber victimization like social media, online hours, parental monitoring, awareness, social engagement, etc. The incidences of cyberbullying are elevating day by day even after the strict crime-fighting measures by state and central authorities. But the implementation of specific rules and regulations against cyberbullying crime may alter the future scenario. The Indian Government is quite aware of the issue of cyberbullying faced on social media, and the Government carries out many remedial interventions like women and child helpline numbers. Moreover, the Government provides legal implementations and acts that are trying to curb the issues of cyberbullying.

2 Aim and objective

This study aims to evaluate the initiatives taken by the Indian Government at the forefront of this noble battle to stop cyberbullying incidences and to find out various factors that make youth more vulnerable to cyberbullying. The following objectives were expected to be accomplished:

Enunciating the problem of Cyberbullying in higher education institutions.

Assessing the initiatives of the Indian Government, legal provisions for cyberbullying, and their amendments.

Evaluate the responses of higher education students to cyberbullying questionnaire.

To examine the factors responsible for cyber victimization and a few measures to combat cyberbullying.

This study is divided into two modules, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2 , to achieve the aforementioned objectives. The first module focuses on explaining and exploring cyberbullying on various online platforms via digital devices, as well as preventative actions done by our Government and different cyberbullying legislation in India. In the second module, we conducted an online survey to access and examine the responses of University/College students.

figure 1

Module 1- Outline of Research

figure 2

Module 2-Case Study

3 Organization of paper

This paper is organized as follows, the Section  4 covers the review of research work on Cyberbullying in higher education institutions. The Section  5 highlights various merits and demerits associated with the internet, social media, and cyberbullying faced. Initiatives taken by the Indian Government in response to cyberbullying are elaborated in Section  6 . The Section  7 provides insight into the survey conducted on students of higher educational institutions. It comprises data collection, data pre-processing, methods, and algorithms employed in conducting and evaluating the responses of the participants. A detailed analysis of the results is mentioned in the "Discussion" section. In the later part of the study, measures to combat cyberbullying, major conclusions, and future recommendations are specified.

4 Related work

In the context of cyberbullying, several studies have been conducted in various countries at college and school levels, examining the different parameters responsible for cyberbullying victimization and the laws against cyberbullying. Different countries have their legal provisions to tackle the situation. A study by (Çevik et al., 2021 ) has discussed factors contributing to cyberbullying and victimization, which are problematic internet usage, school burnout, and parental monitoring. As the long hours of internet usage have resulted in the establishment of fake friendships, low academic profile, aggression, low self-esteem, and loneliness. School burnout includes students lacking interest in studies, exhaustion over studies has resulted in high usage of internet sources, increasing the risk of peer bullying. Parental monitoring plays a crucial role in the lives of adolescents, but a lack of coordination is witnessed between the adolescent and parents, leading to cyberbullying and victimization.

Yubero (Yubero et al., 2017 ) surveyed a sample of 243 Spanish university students in the social science stream, and the results confirmed Only 9.8% of higher education students experienced cyberbullying on the campus, which is much lower than reported by other studies, it may be due to the time frame selection of case study or its definition. Various parameters that may be considered a prime cause of being a victim have been examined. As a result, not much correlation was found between the loneliness of a student and cyberbullying victimization; self-esteem and cyberbullying victimization. But a negative correlation was seen between perceived acceptance by peers and cyberbullying victimization. So, it concludes that emphasis must not only be laid upon preventive measures but also on educating or training peers to help each other and building good relationships with people from whom they can seek advice. Whereas, in Ghana, 878 students took part in this study, where 83% of students have experienced cyberbullying at least once, which is much higher than the previous study result. It seems that cyberbullying is acceptable everyday behavior among Ghanaian youth, even don't feel about reporting it, and not much difference between the personality traits of victims and non-victim seen (Sam et al., 2019 ).

Students can also use a few precautionary measures to reduce cyberbullying by changing their profile settings, as blocking and deleting are considered highly used protective decisions to prevent inappropriate actions over a social networking site like Facebook. Chapin (Chapin, 2016 ), has used the precaution adoption process model to promote precautionary behavior to lower the risk associated with the health due to cyberbullying. According to Chapin, it is seen that many students are aware of the act of bullying but don't take any action.

Cyberbullying has long-term effects, and bullying behavior may continue much longer than expected. In a study, 638 Israeli undergraduate students participated, and various cyberbullying problems were evaluated. The study demonstrated that students experiencing cyberbullying face academic problems, anxiety, career problems, depression, family problems, interpersonal problems, self-esteem, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. 57.4% of participants reported that cyberbullying among the youth will enter the workplace, which will continue throughout their lifetime (Peled, 2019 ).

In educational institutions, social networking platforms are beneficial, as Alamri et al. (Alamri et al., 2020 ) surveyed 192 students of King Faisal, a Saudi Arabian University. This survey was based on the use of SMA's (Social Media Applications) for education sustainability in the higher education system. In their research, they proposed a Theory acceptance Model used in conjunction with constructivism theory. In this model, they developed 14 hypotheses for the adoption of SMA's in students' learning systems and analyzed positive assessment of students for the adoption of SMA's in their higher education. Al-Rahmi et al. also discussed the use of Social media for Collaborative learning and information sharing among the students of the higher education system, in which a survey was conducted among the 538 university students. Students gave positive outcomes towards using SM (social media) for collaboration and student learning, highlighting the perceived enjoyment and ease. But at the same time, it has been observed that it may be affected due to cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and social media addiction (Al-Rahmi et al., 2020 ).

Ho et al. depicted the relationships between social support, cyberbullying victimization, and depressive symptoms and specialized their results, particularly studying the behavior of Vietnamese students (Ho et al., 2020 ). This research revealed that those students who are cyberbullied develop a higher risk of depressive symptoms. Still, social support, for instance, parental, peer, and special person support, can be considered a significant factor that can protect learners from developing such symptoms of depression. Also, while analyzing the survey results on 606 Vietnamese University students, it was found that social support is negatively correlated with cyberbullying, and social support is the only factor that helped those students come out from depression caused by cyberbullying.

Based on a cohort study performed in Hue city, 648 students were called from different schools. Only 9% of students were reported to be cyberbullied, while 17.6% suffered school bullying (Nguyen et al., 2020 ). Parental support has shown a protective relationship promoting the well-being among youth, more understanding and accepting attitude of parents is associated with reducing the consequences of cyberbullying that are mental issues, self-harm, and suicidal behaviors, including suicidal ideation, suicidal planning, and suicidal attempts in adolescents.

To assess risk factors and their impact in Myanmar, Khine et al. (Khine et al., 2020 ) conducted a cross-sectional study at a Medical university in Myanmar. The survey included 412 students in it, and the survey was based on factors leading to cyberbullying victimization during the last 12 months. The results were analyzed based on multiple logistic regression analyses. During the research, it was found that non-resident students or students studying at university for less than three years had a greater risk of being cyberbullying victims. The work also discussed the antagonistic relation between cyberbullying and academic performance and the positive relationship between cyberbullying and substance abuse, such as smoking and drinking alcohol. The research aimed that counseling services, cyber safety educational programs, and awareness of cyberbullying are urgently needed for university students of Myanmar.

Discussing another social networking platform, Aizenkot and Kashy-Rosenbaum have done a crossectional study to detect cyberbullying victimization in WhatsApp classmate groups in which 4477 students participated to complete the questionnaire. Here they (Aizenkot & Kashy-Rosenbaum, 2020 ) concluded that 56.5% of the students reported being victimized at least once, and 30% experienced it more than twice, while 18% (approx.) were victimized due to verbal violence. Other forms of victimization observed were offensive responses, insults, group violence, selectivity, particularly forced removal, and denied entry to WhatsApp groups. It leads our attention toward social media applications that distress the students.

Even During the covid 19 pandemic, when people were very much relied on online platforms due to social distancing and strict quarantine, they were suffering from depression and behavioral and mental problems. At the same time, especially the residents of Hubei, China, were facing all these problems and excessive cyberbullying, agitation, stigma, and racism peaked due to the first case of covid being reported in the city. This online bullying has severe psychological effects, and people were opting for various coping strategies. So here, the efforts must be taken unitedly by the worldwide online media, the health care workers, and the Government to prevent the secondary disaster of the pandemic in which cyberbullying was one of the major issues of concern for China (Yang, 2021 ).

5 Social media and cyberbullying in higher education institutions

Web 2.0 has initiated social media users, especially youngsters, to inculcate their viewpoints and express their thought processes in a virtual environment. Social media is a crucial platform that has encouraged students to expand interaction and has leveled up their performance. Despite its indispensable assets, liabilities cannot be overlooked in any condition (Sarwar et al., 2019 ). Cyberbullying has expanded with the higher usage of techno-savvy gadgets. The present times have modified common bullying into the involvement of harm, cruel thinking, and blackmailing through networking sites to the victims, especially on college campuses resulting in an increasing number of dropouts and suicides (Washington, 2015 ).

Higher command of mobile phones by adolescents has resulted in easy access to social networking sites without any fear. It has been increasingly contributing to cyberbullying, which has long-term adverse effects. Very few believe that it has a positivity that students become tough and develop a tendency of resilience and self-advocacy. Furthermore, it has been visualized that students do not know whether their institutions have a cyberbullying policy, and most institutions are not even prepared for handling such situations (Luker & Curchack, 2017 ).

Nowadays as the graduates are highly active over the internet for knowledge sharing, collaborative learning, and research activities which is beneficial yet resulted in the high indulgence of youth in cyberbullying, leading to negative impacts like aggressiveness, depression, low self-esteem, and also suicidal thoughts (Rasheed et al., 2020 ). Although there have been a myriad number of profits availed by everyone in the status quo, many people still undergo the undesirable effects that may alter one's privacy, security, and emotional health status. From bygone days, it has been witnessed that Cyberbullying is an urgent issue on the social platform that can turn out either short-range, long-range, temporary, or permanent effects on one's life (Abaido, 2020 ). According to Yoshida (Yoshida, 2021 ), different kinds of online behaviors are shown by university students on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They form different communities based on their knowledge or depending upon fan following while swinging their interest from one topic to another. They share their viewpoints on these online platforms where different audiences are reading them. Also, they lack sociability skills and have less knowledge about these online communities. Consequently, this incapability may lead to cyber victimization.

Even the young social media users of color have faced a lot of racial discrimination over the online platforms leading to mental health risks resulting in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and illicit drug use (Tao & Fisher, 2022 ).

Online gaming among young adults is prevailing at a high level with time as a good source of entertainment, but it's being observed to be one of the leading causes of bullying. Hence, online games have resulted in more aggression, violence, conflicts, emotional distress, mental torture, and physical arousals where family and community can act as an inevitable source to reduce the addiction to the internet and strengthen their mental health (Huang et al., 2021 ).

Moreover, students being cyberbullied do not share such incidences with their parents because they fear losing internet access. So, parents could not be assumed as their support system. The other approach is complaining, where a shocking dimension has been observed: there are no policies or federal laws dealing with cyberbullying directly; a federal system covers only a few aspects of cyberbullying (Washington, 2015 ). Another study has also concluded that victims are unable to express any kind of violent cybercrime behavior faced them, presuming that it can result in limited access to internet sources and gadgets by their parents. The victims also perceive that adults cannot understand the issues faced by them. Hence, this depicts a huge gap between teachers, parents, and adolescents (Ngo, et al., 2021 ).

Due to Cyberbullying on-campus, students are experiencing various adverse effects, including feelings of sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, desire for vengeance, and physical and mental retaliation (Cassidy et al., 2017 ). Despite strict rules and awareness, students do not come forward to report cyberbullying. They are afraid, feel self-ashamed, cry, become depressed, suffer from anxiety, experience insomnia, or even miss school (Watts et al., 2017 ).

Cyberbullying is considered one of the potential risks of relying on online technologies and has been one of the significant technology abuse examples in the past decade due to its harmful and sometimes deadly impacts. Counseling acts as a tonic and curative approach that may aid the cyberbullying sufferers in overcoming their fears and issues faced by them. Initiating a hotline or a mobile application can also turn into a valuable perspective. To foster counseling, short seminars and discussion sessions must be taken out regularly among the scholars. Bystanders should also take some initiative to eradicate online bullying situations by breaking their silence at the very right time (Abaido, 2020 ).

6 Indian government initiatives and legal provisions

Various laws of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) listed under legal provisions can be used to fight cyberbullies. A National Cybercrime reporting portal has been established for complaints, and a few more government initiatives are discussed.

6.1 Legal provisions

6.1.1 it act, 2000.

IT ACT, 2000 Footnote 6 came into power to provide legal identification regarding the exchange of data electronically. In computer-related offenses, up to 3 to 5 years imprisonment and rupees one lac fine or both can be charged and, in some cases, even more. Under IT Act, sections 66 A, 66 C, 66 D, and 66 E, punishment is given to the person involved in any crime of insulting or fraud or privacy violation, etc., utilizing the internet, social media, and other digital media devices. IT act, section 67, 67A, and section 67 B deal with publishing and transmitting material containing the sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form. All these sections of IT Acts are explained in Table 8 of the Appendix.

6.1.2 The Indian penal code 1860

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) Footnote 7 is the official criminal code of India that covers all substantive aspects of criminal law, which came into existence in the year 1862 in all British Presidencies. IPC Sections 292A, 354 A, 354 D, 499, 507, and 509 punish people who indulge in blackmailing, harassment, stalking, threatening, intruding, etc. (for details of IPC laws refer to Table 8 of Appendix).

6.1.3 POCSO ACT, 2012

Protection of children from sexual offenses (POCSO) is a complete law for protecting children below 18 years from the heinous acts of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.

6.2 Government initiatives

6.2.1 the nirbhaya funds scheme.

It is an initiative of the Government of India under the Nirbhaya funds scheme for ensuring the safety of women and children. The ministry of Home affairs generated a single number (112) Footnote 8 which was under the Emergency response support system (ERSS), to cope with any emergencies where immediate assistance from police, fire, and rescue, or any other help is required. https://112.gov.in/

6.2.2 Cybercrime prevention against women and children scheme (CCPWC Scheme)

Under the CCPWA scheme, Footnote 9 for cybercrime prevention and setting up of Cyber forensic training labs grant of INR 87.12 Crore was released to states/UTs. Moreover, INR 6 crores were given to enhance police and prosecutors' training sessions. Under the CCPWA scheme, different units are established that are responsible for reporting online criminal acts and their investigations, analyzing cybercrime reports, and detecting any alarming cybercrime situation. Various components of the CCPWA scheme are given in Table 9 of the Appendix.

6.2.3 Indian cybercrime coordination centre (I4C) scheme

To prevent unnecessary use of social space, I4C acts as an essential tool to fight against cybercrime. Moreover, it is supported by fast pace technological advancements and international agencies to work on several activities. Its objective is to deal with different issues faced on online media, giving special attention to women and children victims and creating awareness among youth. Various components of the I4C scheme are mentioned in Table 10 of the Appendix .

6.3 Cybercrime reporting portals & helplines

6.3.1 national cyber crime reporting portal.

NCCR portal is an initiative of the Government of India that submits online complaints by the victims who have faced criticism, especially women and children. Footnote 10 They provide immediate action on the filed complaints with the help of local police. Since the technology has been overstepping every conventional method, it has also outrun the offline process of filing cybercrime complaints. The cybercrime complaints can be registered on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, which facilitates the nationwide cybercrime complaints and makes it feasible for the victims/complainants to have access to the cybercrime cells and all the information related to cybercrimes at their fingertips. The written complaint can also be filed by registering the crime-faced victim at a nearby cyber crime cell. Cyber Crime Portal State-wise, Nodal cyber cell officers and grievance officers' contact details and e-mail IDs are provided on the website https://cybercrime.gov.in/ . Footnote 11

6.3.2 Portal for women and children

Various helpline numbers and complaint portals for women and children are listed in Table 1 .

6.4 Anti-bullying or cyberbullying laws in India for schools and colleges

With the high increase in bullying in schools, especially in boarding schools in India, the HRD ministry has launched anti-ragging committees to reduce the rate of bullying. These committees work on punishing students who are indulged in the activities along with rustication in case of high involvement in bullying. The University Grants Commission comes forward with anti-ragging rules in universities and colleges with proper UGC regulations on pulling out the rate of ragging in higher institutions. Footnote 12

6.5 Other portals & awareness campaigns

The Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a centralized online cybercrime registration portal that has helped victims to register a complaint online rather than visiting the police station. Along with that Delhi and Indore police has a cyber cell to make people aware regarding filing a complaint online by the following link:




Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the cyber safety awareness campaign in Assam on the occasion of the foundation day of the Assam police, which joined with cyber security and formed a Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF).

Awareness Campaign on Cyber Security By DSEJ

Jammu has made an awareness campaign for up to 2 Lakh stakeholders of the School Education Department on cyber hygiene and security held on 15 January 2021 along with online as well as offline counseling sessions on a large scale covering cyber grooming, cyberbullying, phishing, safeguarding social media accounts, online banking frauds, lottery frauds, remote access scams, social media privacy policy, etc. Many such awareness campaigns are organized nationwide by the respective Governments.

7 A Case study based on a survey

In this section, to investigate the problem of Cyberbullying in higher educational institutions, a survey has been conducted among university/college-going students that provide clear insights into the data analysis and case study outcomes.

7.1 Data analysis methodology

It includes the manual about designing the questionnaire for the survey, the process of collecting data, pre-processing data, techniques used to conduct the survey, and finally, applying algorithms to the collected data for evaluating the outcomes.

7.1.1 Designing the questionnaire

An online survey was conducted to gain insights into the feedback given by students on the cyberbullying faced by students of higher education institutions in India. The survey contains a questionnaire designed to collect information on the cyberbullying experience, various issues faced by students related to cyberbullying, the dependence of cyberbullying victimization on other parameters, institutional support, and feedback from respondents to stop cyberbullying. According to Lesley Andres, while preparing for analysis, we should identify the research problem questions and locate ourselves in the research design and process for designing an effective survey questionnaire (Andres, 2012 ). The quality of data analysis through survey questions depends on various factors like topics covered in the questionnaire, wording, format, and organization (Singh et al., 2021 ), (Williams, 2003 ).

In this study, a total of 72 questions were classified into five sections: the first is about general information and computer knowledge, the second one is related to cyberbullying victimization, the third is for cyberbullying and cyber-bystander, fourth discusses the actions and effects of cyberbullying victimization, and the last one is about institutional support and suggestion. A google form was prepared, and the specific link was shared over the e-mails, and social media platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. The database was collected over three weeks, and due to the length of the questionnaire, 220 responses were received. 80% of respondents belong to the age group of 17 to 24. The general information about the participants, moreover their devices in use, and social networking sites being used most frequently are listed in Table 2 . 60% of our participants are hostellers, where most of the students are doing their bachelor's degrees. WhatsApp is the most popularly used application among the students, being used by 88% of users, and 60% (approx.) of users have observed cyberbullying at their campuses.

7.1.2 Data pre-processing

To remove the anomalies of the database collected in the survey few steps like data cleaning, filtration, removing duplicate responses, and the language translation are done (Maier et al., 2018 ). For statistically evaluating the responses, such as finding the correlation between various parameters, the Likert scale was used to convert responses to equivalent numerical values. Furthermore, the textual answers or the suggestions obtained from users are also pre-processed manually and with the help of algorithmic techniques of R package libraries for grammatical correction, removal of numbers, special characters, misleading information, and using google translator for conversion of regional language to English wherever required.

7.1.3 Outcomes of survey questions

In a survey question, it was asked to give their opinion on which gender is bullied more :

32.3% believe that females are bullied more than males, 10.5% believe that males are bullied more, 47.7% believe that both are bullied equally, and 9.5% prefer not to say. But the actual results of the survey go with the belief of the majority, where we find out that 54% of males are bullied, and approximately 51% of females are bullied. In fact not a significant difference between their bullying percentages.

Definition of cyberbullying: An understanding by respondents

To have an idea, according to the respondents' about what cyberbullying is? According to the responses received, more than 50% of the respondents were clear about it, and the majority believe that threatening someone, taking or sharing someone's embarrassing photographs, and posting something hurtful on social media are major cyberbullying acts. Table 3 depicts the rest of the percentage of the views about Cyberbullying definition.

Views on cyberbullying: Is it a normal part of the online world, and nothing could be done to stop it: Here, the views of male and female respondents do not deviate much. For both of them, it is unacceptable. 70% of the respondents disagree with the view that it is normal we can't stop it, and only 15% of the respondents take it as a normal activity, as shown in Fig. 3 .

figure 3

Cyberbullying is a normal part of the online world

Actual percentage facing bullying classified under different categories and factors:

In Table 4 , the percentage distribution of bullied and non-bullied participants is mentioned depending on various factors like gender, social media usage hours, computer proficiency, area of residence, parent's talk, and their qualification. According to the number of hours of social media usage, on average, students use it for 4 h, and respondents using it for more than 4 h are bullied more than others. In addition, more than half of the participants have good computer knowledge, but not much dependency is seen between the computer proficiency and the percentage bullied by implementing the Chi-Square test using the Likert scale in Rstudio (Mircioiu & Atkinson, 2017 ). A p-value of 0.135 has been obtained, which is insignificant for showing a relation between computer proficiency and bullying percentage (Rana & Singhal, 2015 ). A weak relation is found between parents' talk and bullying; those whose parents frequently talk about cyberbullying are bullied a little bit less as compared to those whose parents never or very rarely talk about it. No correlation is found between the area of residence, and parental qualification of the students bullied.

When you were bullied, it was related to:

Of the respondents who have been cyberbullied due to multiple reasons, the majority of victims do not know the reason, and the most prevalent reason is their physical appearance and religion. Due to their sexual orientation and race, they have also faced bullying, and disability is also one of the reasons. The percentage of various reasons is given in Fig. 4 .

figure 4

Reasons for cyberbullying


Out of total female respondants, 51.30% of females faced bullying, 11.30% were unsure, and 37.39% were not bullied. In the case of males, 55.24% of males faced bullying, 14.24% were unsure, and 30.48% were not bullied at all. Among the persons with disabilities, 83% of males and 75% of females having any type of disability faced cyberbullying.

Out of the total bullies, 64.40% of bullies are male, and 35.60% of bullies are female. 18.26% of all the female participants accepted that they had bullied someone, and approximately twice the women's percentage, i.e., 36.19% of male participants have bullied someone. But in the case of the cyber bystanders, there is not much difference in their percentages. 44.34% of the female participants and 56.19% of male participants were cyber bystanders, respectively. Various questions and their response percentages related to cyber victimization, cyberbullying, and cyber bystanders are listed in Table 5 .

Actions are taken after being Cyberbullied & Effects on victims:

In the survey conducted, more than half of the students (51.8%) are not aware of cyberbullying laws, and 58.2% have no clue where to report or what action should be taken against the bully. It has been seen that among the cyber victims, 65.15% of students know the bully.

Various persons can experience cyberbullying, and according to the responses, among the students bullied, 40.20% of cyberbullying was done by their friends, 9.28% by their relatives or cousins, 31.95% was done by their peer group, 25.77% by any senior, 14.43% by a junior and 53.60% by unknown. As mentioned in Table 6 , most cyberbullying victims feel comfortable discussing the matter with their friends or with nobody, only one-quarter of the percentage discuss it with their parents.

In Table 6 , various questions related to cyberbullying victims, their reaction toward a bully, their parent's reaction, how the cyberbullying affected studies and work, and the victim's feelings are mentioned with percentages. Most of the victims felt angry and depressed, and around half of the victims asked the bully to stop this behavior.

As shown in Fig.  5 , the R studio corrplot function is used to find correlations among various parameters, and it is observed that both the work and health of the cyberbullying victim are greatly affected.

figure 5

Correlation graph

In further detailed questioning, it is observed that 62% of cyberbullying victims ignore the messages of bullies so that he/they would lose interest, whereas 25% have sent threatening messages to bullies about doing such acts. Approximately 27% seek online advice on being bullied. Due to lack of awareness, only 40% of the victims save the cyberbullying messages or images as evidence. 32.4% of victims changed their contact details like phone number, e-mail address, chat name, or profile information visibility on social networking sites. 79% of the victims have blocked the bully so that he/she could not contact more.

Institutional support

It has been observed that higher education institutions do not provide much support to the students and make them aware of this online behavior, as 68.2% of the colleges and universities are not taking any initiative to make students aware by conducting any awareness tutorial or campaign. Only 42.8% of students who were bullied have taken guidance from university. Furthermore, 68.6% of the students have no idea where to report or to find the anti-bullying policy in their institution. Approximately 69.5% think their institutions are not doing enough to tackle the problem.

7.1.4 Topic modeling to extract relevant topics

For analysis of the feedback given by students to stop cyberbullying in institutions, using the R framework, LDA has been used. To extract the optimum number of topics in the feedback database, we used Griffith's 2004 (Griffiths & Steyvers, 2004 ) and Cau Juan's 2009 (Cao et al., 2009 ) metrics for our study in the R framework. Griffith represents an approach where the number of topics is optimal when the log-likelihood for data becomes maximum, whereas Cau Juan is used for measuring the stability of the topic and the minimum value on the graph represents the optimal number of topics. As from Fig.  6 number of topics lies between 4 to 9; in the upper graph minimum value is to be selected and from the lower one maximum value is to find the range of an optimal number of topics.

figure 6

Determining the optimal number of topics

The latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) is a statistical model that enables unidentified groups to explain why some sections of the data are related (Blei et al., 2003 ). If observations are words gathered into documents, it is assumed that each document is a mix of a small number of subjects and that each word's occurrence is due to one of the document's themes called topics. The time complexity of LDA is O(mnt  +  t 3 ) and memory requirements of O(mn  +  mt  +  nt) , where m is the number of samples, n is the number of features, and t  =  min (m,n). It is impossible to use LDA when both m and n are big (Cai et al., 2008 ). The working of LDA is shown in the Algorithm . As there does not exist any prior information on the number of topics in our corpus, we used LDAvis, which generates interactive charts where each bubble represents the topic, and topic per word distribution is represented in the bar graph plot, selection of a bubble highlights the words and bars accordingly. The prevalence of topics depends upon the bubble size. For these graphs, the "optimum" value of λ was about 0.6, which resulted in a 70% likelihood of right identification (values of λ around 0 and 1 resulted in estimated proportions of correct replies closer to 53 and 63 percent, respectively). This is evidence that ordering words according to relevance (rather than strictly in decreasing order of probability) can increase subject interpretability (Sievert & Shirley, 2014 ).

LDA has extracted the discussion topics from the set of views database submitted by students to tackle this problem, explore all the main keywords, and highlight areas that need improvement. The findings indicate the formation of five clusters, the most frequent and interdependent keywords with other clusters or topics as depicted in Fig.  7 . The number of clusters lies in the predicted range of optimal number of topics. From the topic modeling analysis, "Awareness" is the most frequent term and critical factor in curbing cyberbullying. The classification of most frequently used words and the keywords grouped according to LDA are given in Table 7 .

figure 7

LDAvis topic extraction graph

figure a

8 Discussion: Analysis of conducted survey

With the advancement of technology, social media has become a vital part of students' lives, either for their studies or entertainment. The major challenge is protecting the students from cyberbullying that can significantly affect their work and studies. Our focus is on examining cyberbullying among college/university students. For this, we divided our research into two modules. In the first one, we analyzed the Indian Government initiatives. While exploring legal provisions, it is found that so many laws, online portals and helplines are available. Strict laws implemented against cyberbullying are covered under IT Act 2000, IT Act Section 66A, IT Act Section 66 B, IT Act Section 66C, IT Act Section 66D, IT Act Section 66E, IT Act Sect. 67, IT Act Section 67A, IT Act Section 67B; under Indian Penal Code 1860, IPC Section 292 A, IPC Section 354A, IPC Section 354D, IPC Section 499, IPC Section 507, and POCSO Act 2012. Under various schemes like the Nirbhaya fund scheme, the Government launches a women and helpline number 112 for emergency response. Under CCPW Scheme, multiple labs and units have been established for cybercrime online reporting, the investigation by professional teams, and research and development. I4C scheme has also established many units for creating awareness, reporting, and inspection. MHA has established National Cybercrime reporting portals both online and offline. Moreover, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has generated a women's helpline number 118 and also a dedicated e-mail address to redress their grievances. Separate Childline 1098, NCW helpline, Mahila bol helpline, and many state government portals are available. Various awareness campaigns are launched at the state as well as international levels. In second module, a case study was performed on cyberbullying in higher education institutions.

Section-wise analyses of the conducted survey

General information: 97% of the higher education institutional students (respondents) have electronic gadgets, except the few either do not have internet connectivity or a personal device. Even in the UNICEF case study, it was found that 99 percent of both urban and rural internet users aged 12 + years used mobile phones to access the internet. Footnote 14 WhatsApp and Instagram are the most widely used social networking sites that make them more vulnerable to experience cyberbullying. The responses of the participants depict that they are not much aware of the cyberbullying term, the legal provisions, and other governmental policies against cyberbullying. At the same time, it is observed that the majority of students reacted strongly to stop this behavior.

Cyberbullying victimization and dependency of Cyberbullying on various demographic parameters: According to the survey results, more than half of the respondents have experienced cyberbullying, which is similar to the percentage obtained in a study by Aizenkot and Kashy-Rosenbaum (Aizenkot & Kashy-Rosenbaum, 2020 ). It is concluded that males are cyberbullied more than females. Moreover, the person with a disability is the most affected as 80% of them face cyberbullying. Higher hours spent on social networking sites also lead to cyberbullying victimization. This case study found that Parental awareness and discussing online issues with youngsters have played a vital role in preventing them from being bullied, which resembles the conclusion of a study conducted in Vietnam by Ho et al. (Ho et al., 2020 ). The majority of the participants are not aware of the reason for being bullied but based on physical appearance and religion, cyberbullying is most prevalent among students. Approximately half of the participants have experienced cyber defaming.

Cyberbullying and Cyber Bystander: 18.26% of the female participants accepted that they had bullied someone, and 36% of males accepted it. The survey results depict that half of the participants are cyber bystanders. The most prevalent type of cyberbullying in this survey is leaving someone without friends by either blocking or eliminating them from social groups, and similar victimization was observed in a study by Aizenkot and Kashy-Rosenbaum (Aizenkot & Kashy-Rosenbaum, 2020 ). Cyber-by-standing is more common in male students, as one-third of the students have witnessed someone posting something wrong on social media to embarrass a classmate or use abusive language. Peer bullying is commonly seen among university students.

Actions taken and the affect of cyberbullying on the victim: Only 42% of the victims report to the police, and 36% of the students get back to the bully either personally or virtually. Cyberbullying has affected both the physical and mental health of the victim, and they experience aggressiveness and depression at most times. It also affects their relationship with friends and family and their work and studies. Also, the participants said that they have stopped using various social networking sites, restricted their privacy settings, and adopted other necessary measures to avoid bullying.

Institutional support and suggestions : Cyberbullying Awareness is the need of the hour, various institutions have cyberbullying policies, but the students are not aware of that. Students need guidance, and awareness sessions and campaigns should be organized at the college/ university level. As per students' suggestive measures, there should be proper counseling sessions, teacher support, guidance to tackle online issues, a complaint portal, strict laws, and concrete action against the bully. Institutions should also teach the ethics of social media usage.

9 How to combat cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can be significantly reduced with effective interpersonal communication among the peer group, and also bystanders can play a vital role in preventing cyberbullying if they intervene immediately on behalf of victims (Rafferty & Vander Ven, 2014 ). From the case study, it has been seen that the majority of students were cyber bystanders; they should come forward and encourage reporting such issues. The students are not much aware of the cyberbulling policies, so as suggested by Watts (Watts et al., 2017 ) anonymous reporting should be introduced, and internet etiquette should be studied.

It has been analyzed that colleges/universities are not doing enough to deal with this problem. In educational institutions, policy development is a pressing need that may be addressed using focus groups to identify effective remedies for cyberbullying. In addition, institutional leaders should consider a cyberbullying policy in terms of circumstances, and aside from that, leaders may improve their workers' knowledge abilities by conducting surveys and investigative sessions on cyberbullying (Luker & Curchack, 2017 ). The study depicted that approximately 70% of the respondents feel that institutions are not doing enough to curb cyberbullying so there is a need for university professionals to effectively analyze and mitigate unfavorable internet interactions on their campuses. All students and faculty members require assistance and counseling (Cassidy et al., 2017 ).

Creating awareness is the primary need as per students' feedback. The government has launched various portals, helplines for helping women and children, cyber cells, and reporting portals for online issues but students are not much aware of these initiatives and legal provisions. There is a need to raise awareness. Insulting someone or defaming or making fun over social media are the most prevalent among educational institutions. The study findings by (Ngo et al., 2021 ) and (Hutson et al., 2018 ) have suggested several measures to curb cyberbullying. To begin, educational campaigns should be conducted to boost awareness and attitudes against cyberbullying across youth, parents, and teachers, inspiring them to become proactive in mediating and combating cyberbullying practices. Knowledge and practices on cyberbullying, communication and internet usage skills, education on digital citizenship, prosocial behaviors, empathy, and coping techniques with cyberbullying should all be included in these programs. From the case study it is observed that 70% victims feel angry, 43% depressed and one-third feel lonely and helpless. So, regular training sessions should be held to assist teenagers in developing the skills and talents necessary to actively cope with cyberbullying, assist other victims, and prevent them from being involved in cyberbullying themselves. Furthermore, institutions, healthcare providers, and leaders should promote parents' participation in suspecting and addressing cyberbullying and its implications among youngsters. This positive parent–child interaction may inspire them to seek help when confronted with adversity. In addition, Parents must exercise restraint and active mediation to raise awareness, as teenagers lack understanding of online threats and the ability to self-regulate their internet activities owing to a lack of experience (Steinfeld, 2021 ).

Also, the student Services at universities should design interventions where they concentrate not just on prophylactic work with techniques to eliminate cyberbullying but also on fostering relationships with individuals from whom victims may seek assistance with their online concerns (Yubero et al., 2017 ). Cyberbullying can be significantly reduced with effective interpersonal communication among the peer group, and also bystanders can play a vital role in preventing cyberbullying if they intervene immediately on behalf of victims (Rafferty & Vander Ven, 2014 ). As observed in cyber victimization questionnaire, cyberbullying faced by the majority is insulting someone, saying something untrue about a person or making fun of others over social media, or excluding others from online groups. Peer assistance initiatives appear to be successful in this regard where with proper training, students assist in educating their peers about using technology responsibly and cyberbullying by relating their experiences and strategies to avoid and address it.

A convenient, user-friendly, and cost-effective conversation bots (chatbots) can be used in anti-bullying programs to raise awareness regarding bullying and help change students' attitudes toward bullying problems (Oh et al., 2020 ). Moreover, to avoid consolidation and limit the impact on victims, all colleges should broaden their harassment policies, including cyberbullying; these protocols must include precise steps to be taken if such episodes are discovered. In the future, therapeutic assistance and victim protection should be included in protocols.

10 Conclusion and recommendation

With the technical advancement, and adoption of blended learning as a new paradigm in higher education, social media users are also increasing day by day, and the most significant impact is seen on the youngsters. Lack of knowledge about the ethics of using social media and the easy availability of the internet lead to cyberbullying. While the social networking sites act as a boon to the students, providing them an environment of collaborative learning even in the pandemics like covid19, at the same time, it may lead to cyberbullying victimization by exposing them to the hate and aggressive behavior on online platforms. Students have misused social media to humiliate or harass other students. So, regardless of the convenience offered by social media, the constant exposure to and communication with online technologies make the users susceptible to certain online interactions that may be beneficial at some point but put their safety and emotional and psychological well-being at risk. Over time, the Indian Government has launched various schemes (Nirbhaya Scheme, CCPW Scheme, I4C Scheme), online reporting portals (National cybercrime reporting portal), helpline numbers for women and children, and amended the required legal provisions of the IT Act and Indian Penal Code 1860 against the cyberbullying. State governments have also launched various awareness campaigns. As per UGC regulation, educational institutions have also stricken their anti-bullying policies. But the success of these initiatives depends upon the responses of the participants of the survey. It has been seen that the students are not much aware of all these laws against cyberbullying. More than half of the participants have faced cyberbullying, and many of them admitted that they had bullied others also. Cyberbullying victimization is dependent upon various factors like parents' guidance, the number of hours of social media usage, etc. Parental advice and lesser usage of social media may prevent the students from being bullied. Peer bullying is the most prevalent among college/university male students, and Cyberbullying has affected the students psychologically as well as physically; moreover, it degraded their performance at work/studies. Anger and depression are the major problems experienced by the victims. Two-thirds of the students are unaware of the cyberbullying policies and laws. After analyzing the results, it is suggested that the institutions and authorities organize seminars and counseling sessions to create awareness. They should follow strict measures to tackle cyberbullying, take appropriate actions, and establish complaint portals at the college/university level. The study covers a lot about the initiatives, provides insights into the current cyberbullying situation at higher education institutions in India, and concludes that more campaigns and seminars should be conducted to make students aware of all these legal provisions. At the same time, the study has a few limitations also: Firstly, based on popularity, only a few government initiatives and legal provisions have been listed, only national-level portals and helplines are mentioned, and State-wise programs and campaigns are not discussed. Secondly, the sample chosen may have many constraints due to the length of the survey; only limited responses are received, and the respondents may belong to the same environment and face similar problems. In the future, we will try to overcome these limitations.










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  • Research @ BEA

Studies on the Value of Data

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has undertaken a series of studies that present methods for quantifying the value of simple data that can be differentiated from the complex data created by highly skilled workers that was studied in Calderón and Rassier 2022 . Preliminary studies in this series focus on tax data, individual credit data, and driving data. Additional examples include medical records, educational transcripts, business financial records, customer data, equipment maintenance histories, social media profiles, tourist maps, and many more. If new case studies under this topic are released, they will be added to the listing below.

  • Capitalizing Data: Case Studies of Driving Records and Vehicle Insurance Claims | April 2024
  • Private Funding of “Free” Data: A Theoretical Framework | April 2024
  • Capitalizing Data: Case Studies of Tax Forms and Individual Credit Reports | June 2023

Rachel Soloveichik

JEL Code(s) E01 Published April 2024


  1. (DOC) Bullying case study

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  1. The ImClone Stock Insider-Trading Case

  2. "Long-Term Study Links Bullying in Childhood to Higher Earnings in Adulthood"

  3. Suspected school bullying in KK goes viral

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  6. Communications Strategy: The Coca-Cola Company Case Study


  1. Campus Bullying in the Senior High School: A Qualitative Case Study

    Norman Raotraot Galabo. ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to describe the campus bullying experiences of senior high school students in a certain. secondary school at Davao ...

  2. Bullying in schools: the state of knowledge and effective interventions

    Abstract. During the school years, bullying is one of the most common expressions of violence in the peer context. Research on bullying started more than forty years ago, when the phenomenon was defined as 'aggressive, intentional acts carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him- or herself'.

  3. A Case Study with an Identified Bully: Policy and Practice Implications

    INTRODUCTION. Bullying is one of the most significant school problems experienced by children and adolescents and affects approximately 30% of students in U.S. public schools. 1 This included 13% as bullies, 10.6% as victims and 6.3% as bully-victims. 2 Bullying has been defined as repeated exposure to negative events within the context of an ...

  4. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a

    To examine recent trends in bullying and mental health problems among adolescents and the association between them. A questionnaire measuring mental health problems, bullying at school, socio-economic status, and the school environment was distributed to all secondary school students aged 15 (school-year 9) and 18 (school-year 11) in Stockholm during 2014, 2018, and 2020 (n = 32,722).

  5. Snezana's story: From being bullied to ending conflicts at school

    The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school - often cases of bullying and psychological abuse. Peer mediator Snezana, 16 years old, speaks to a representative of the UNICEF supported Domovik NGO, in a park in Mitrovica North, Kosovo (SCR 1244). When Snezana was younger she experienced bullying.

  6. Full article: Understanding bullying from young people's perspectives

    With its negative consequences for wellbeing, bullying is a major public health concern affecting the lives of many children and adolescents (Holt et al. Citation 2014; Liu et al. Citation 2014 ). Bullying can take many different forms and include aggressive behaviours that are physical, verbal or psychological in nature (Wang, Iannotti, and ...

  7. Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice

    Bullying behavior is a serious problem among school-age children and adolescents; it has short- and long-term effects on the individual who is bullied, the individual who bullies, the individual who is bullied and bullies others, and the bystander present during the bullying event. In this chapter, the committee presents the consequences of bullying behavior for children and youth. As ...

  8. PDF Four Decades of Research on School Bullying

    A recent Institute of Educational Studies report, based on a national sample of over 4,000 youth aged 12 to 18 years (DeVoe & Bauer, 2011), showed declines in victimization from 37% to 22% from Grade 6 to. 12. Prevalence rates also vary across countries.

  9. Survivors of School Bullying: A Collective Case Study

    This. collective case study explored the coping strategies. of five junior high school students and how effec-. tive those strategies w ere in dealing with the pejo-. rative ef fects of school ...

  10. Tackling Bullying from the Inside Out: Shifting Paradigms in Bullying

    Defining and Contextualising Bullying. While certain individuals are more likely to bully (psychological dimension), the structures in which they exist (sociological dimension) can also contribute towards an environment (educational dimension) where bullying is more acceptable.Furthermore, social media and other online spaces (technological dimension) are now extending the nature and scope of ...

  11. Bullying: What We Know Based On 40 Years of Research

    WASHINGTON — A special issue of American Psychologist ® provides a comprehensive review of over 40 years of research on bullying among school age youth, documenting the current understanding of the complexity of the issue and suggesting directions for future research. "The lore of bullies has long permeated literature and popular culture. Yet bullying as a distinct form of interpersonal ...

  12. PDF The Impact of Bullying on Students Mental Health: A Case Study

    Bullying cases in schools have increased since the implementation of the anti-bullying law in 2013, with 11,637 cases reported in 2019-2020. According to a survey by the Programme for the International Student. Assessment (PISA), Filipino high school students are highly exposed to bullying, with 65% experiencing it at least a few times a month.

  13. PDF The Impact of School Bullying On Students' Academic Achievement ...

    Physical bullying: such as hitting, slapping, kicking or forced to do something. Verbal bullying: verbal abuse, insults, cursing, excitement, threats, false rumors, giving names and titles for individual, or giving ethnic label. Sexual bullying: this refers to use dirty words, touch, or threat of doing.

  14. Bullying in academia: why it happens and how to stop it

    Jackson welcomes the fact that bullying harassment and discrimination in academia is now more talked about, but says its root cause is an individual's inability to put themselves in someone else ...

  15. 154 Bullying Topics & Bullying Essay Examples

    Table of Contents. Examples of bullying can be found everywhere: in schools, workplaces, and even on the Internet (in the form of cyberbullying). In this article, we've collected top bullying research paper topics and questions, as well as bullying essay samples and writing tips. Get inspired with us!

  16. Managing bullying in South African secondary schools: a case study

    The paper concludes with the provision of a model to manage and curb bullying in these secondary schools.,A qualitative research approach, in particular a case study design, was selected to give a clear understanding of participants' views and experiences (Johnson and Christensen, 2011; Mason, 2013).

  17. Bullying in children: impact on child health

    Bullying in childhood is a global public health problem that impacts on child, adolescent and adult health. Bullying exists in its traditional, sexual and cyber forms, all of which impact on the physical, mental and social health of victims, bullies and bully-victims. Children perceived as 'different' in any way are at greater risk of ...

  18. Workplace bullying as an organizational problem: Spotlight on people

    Though workplace bullying is conceptualized as an organizational problem, there remains a gap in understanding the contexts in which bullying manifests—knowledge vital for addressing bullying in practice. In three studies, we leverage the rich content contained within workplace bullying complaint records to explore this issue then, based on our discoveries, investigate people management ...

  19. Indian government initiatives on cyberbullying: A case study on

    Higher hours spent on social networking sites also lead to cyberbullying victimization. This case study found that Parental awareness and discussing online issues with youngsters have played a vital role in preventing them from being bullied, which resembles the conclusion of a study conducted in Vietnam by Ho et al. (Ho et al., 2020). The ...

  20. Cyber Bullying: Case Study: [Essay Example], 533 words

    Cyber bullying has become a prevalent issue in today's society, with the rise of social media and digital communication. This form of bullying involves the use of electronic devices to harass, intimidate, or harm others. In this case study, we will explore a real-life example of cyber bullying and analyze the impact it had on the victim, as ...

  21. Bullying Case Study Examples That Really Inspire

    Bullying Case Studies Samples For Students. 495 samples of this type. WowEssays.com paper writer service proudly presents to you a free catalog of Bullying Case Studies intended to help struggling students tackle their writing challenges. In a practical sense, each Bullying Case Study sample presented here may be a pilot that walks you through ...

  22. Cyberbullying Among Adolescents and Children: A Comprehensive Review of

    Four studies reported on the victimization prevalence of impersonating and account forgery, ranging from 1.1 to 10% (15, 42, 43), while five studies reported on perpetration prevalence, with the range being from 1.3 to 9.31% (15, 43, 47, 48, 51). In a Spanish study, 10% of respondents reported that their accounts had been infringed by others or ...

  23. Essays On Cyber Bullying

    Cyber Bullying Essay. Bullying has increased over the past few years. Every bully has their own motive and reason behind their actions. Bullying could either be a short term or long term event. There are different ways a person can be bullied. Through social media, texting/phone, in person, blackmail, in and out of the classroom.

  24. Studies on the Value of Data

    The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has undertaken a series of studies that present methods for quantifying the value of simple data that can be differentiated from the complex data created by highly skilled workers that was studied in Calderón and Rassier 2022. Preliminary studies in this series focus on tax data, individual credit data, and driving data.