What are the different types of Cyberbully?
The Vengeful Angel
The Vengeful Angel see themselves as righting wrongs or defending themselves from the person who upset them, and not as a bully. Their motivation is to protect others in cyberspace, and often gets involved trying to protect a friend who is being bullied either online or offline. They tend to work alone and anonymously to avoid being attacked by the bully they are trying to neutralise. In some instances, the vengeful angel will engage in cyberbullying not only out of anger but also envy and jealousy.
The Power-Hungry cyberbully is intent on exerting control, power and authority. They enjoy an audience to witness or support their actions. They are seeking attention and want to see their target sweat. They tend to attack directly sending threats to their victims; via game/website hacking attacks, or public postings. If they do not get a reaction they may escalate their activities, substituting insults for threats.
The Mean Girl
The Mean Girl type of cyberbully, despite its name is not limited to girls. It usually occurs when children or adolescents are bored. This bullying is typically done in groups and requires an audience. They want others to know who they are and to show they have the power to cyberbully others. Their tactic is to use others to help by passing along emails or instant messages filled with rumours, or by doing something that will help to spread the humiliation and make their victims a source of ridicule. These bully groups can grow with peer support and lack of positive bystander intervention. Alternatively when there is no further entertainment for them, it tends to die out.
The Inadvertent Cyberbully
The Inadvertent Cyberbully does not think of themselves as a bully. Rather, they put on a tough facade online or are acting in response to a hateful or provocative message that they have received. They tend not to think about the consequences of their actions before clicking ‘send’. They are, therefore, surprised when they are accused of cyberbullying. This type of cyberbully can also be someone who is roleplaying, acting out their aggressive fantasies online. It may be a child who is well behaved, polite and a good student in real life. However, they behave differently online, simply because they can.
P. Aftab, ‘Stop Cyberbullying’, www.wiredsafety.net (2011)
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.