Cyber Bullying Persuasive Essay [with Annotated Bibliography Example]

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Cyberbullying refers to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) by an individual or group of individuals to cause harm to another individual or group of individuals intentionally or deliberately. Scherer (2011, p. 8) also defines cyberbullying as an act of using the internet and related technologies to haunt, harass, annoy, or cause harm to other people intentionally or knowingly in a repetitive and intimidating manner. Cyberbullying usually involves acts that aim at intimidating an individual or group of persons by causing psychological, mental, or emotional and social harm by threatening the reputation and safety of the individual or group of individuals (Gerdes 2012, p. 21).

An act or activity is classified as a cyberbullying if it involves the use of information and communication technologies such as the internet, mobile phones, and computers in a repetitive manner to hurt or cause considerable psychological, mental, or social harm such as defamation, insult, and denigration to another person intentionally. Cyberbullying is more prevalent among children owing to their increased access to and use of communication technologies. Raatma (2013, p. 35) also affirms that cyberbullying is more common among young people, who use the internet more frequently, than among adults, who rarely use the internet and related technologies.

Cyberbullying usually occurs in major public forums and chat rooms, online information sites, and social media and networking sites such as Facebook, Badoo, MySpace, and Twitter. According to Katz (2012, p. 19), a cyber-bully is the person targeting another individual through mischievous activities. The cyber-bully may be known to the victim or be an online stranger.

Forms of Cyberbullying

According to Beane (2008, page 71), cyberbullying ranges from simple activities like sending text messages or emails to a person who has requested for limited contacts with the sender to complex activities like hacking into one’s online account or vandalizing one’s online site. The most common forms of cyberbullying include:

  • harassment;
  • cyber-stalking;
  • denigration;
  • impersonation;
  • exclusion.

Harassment refers to a variety of behaviors or activities that are considered offensive by the victims and are intended to annoy, humiliate, or intimidate an individual. Most harassments aim at disturbing the victim. Cyber-stalking refers to the act of using the internet to trail, track, or pursue an individual through close monitoring. Denigration is the act of sending, posting, or spreading false information and malicious rumors and gossips about an individual or group of individuals through information and communication technologies in order to harm or damage his or their reputations as well as relationships with other people.

Impersonation refers to the act of imitating or mimicking the conducts, attributes, and actions of another person through pretense. Online impersonation involves the creation of fake accounts using the victim’s names without his/her permission and pretending to be the victim. It also includes stealing usernames and passwords of accounts of the victim and communicating with other people in the pretense of the victim.

In the context of cyberbullying, exclusion refers to the act of eliminating or excluding a person from certain forums or prohibiting them from participating in online public forums. Kearney (2011, p. 7) defines exclusion as the process of not accepting an individual or a group of individuals in an online group or prohibiting them to join and actively participate in the activities of the group. McElearney, Roosmale-Cosq, and Stephenson (2008, p. 114) also assert that cyberbullying includes activities that aim at reducing or limiting the active participation of an individual in such online activities such as discussions. Online exclusion is a form of social discrimination (Allman 2009, p. 192).

Other forms of cyberbullying include sending viruses to computers of the victims, use of pseudonyms or nicknames to harass other people and flaming. Cyberbullying also entails mobilizing people against an individual; for example, racists may mobile people against certain communities. Unauthorized disclosure of personal information such as real names, marital status, place of residence, and employment status of a person without his permission also amounts to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying also involves posting indecent images of an individual into the internet with the intention of damaging the reputation or character of the individual.

Cases and Incidences of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is more prevalent among school-going children and teens, for example, Smith and Mississippi State University (2010, p. 106) estimate that more than seven thousand five hundred students are bullied in Australia every year. In the United States of America, cyberbullying is prevalent among children aged between seven and twelve years (9%) and among teens aged between fourteen and eighteen years (12%) (Hinduja & Patchin 2009, p. 227). The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics also revealed that seven percent of students in grades six to twelve were cyberbullied between 2008 and 2009 (Rogers 2010, p. 151).

Recent cases and incidences of cyberbullying in the United States of America include the suicidal death of Ryan Halligan and Megan Meier as a result of cyberbullying (Nelson 2013, page 240). The Cyberbullying Research Center also reported that nearly fifty teenagers committed suicide in 2009 as a result of harassment and maltreatment over the internet (Rogers 2010, page 157). In late 2011, the National Crime Prevention Council reported that cyberbullying is a serious social problem that affects more than half of all teenagers in the U.S. (Gerdes 2012, p. 29).

Penalties and Laws against Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is relatively new and is currently covered with existing laws against personal threats and harassment (Raatma 2013, p. 41). There are no specific penalties that have been established for cyberbullying. It is treated like other forms of crimes, and punishments may vary from fines to imprisonment.

Despite being a new form of crime, various laws and legislations have been formed to fight, reduce, and control cyberbullying. Many countries across the globe have enacted laws that clearly define the various forms of cyberbullying. For example, Assembly Bill 86 2008 was established by legislators in California state to help fight to cyberbully by authorizing administrators of schools to punish and discipline students who bully their colleagues both online and offline.

According to Allman (2009, p. 209), a majority of states in the U.S. have also established special cyber-crime units within their law enforcement agencies to handle cases of cyberbullying with great seriousness. Nelson (2013, p. 248) also affirms that reported cases of cyberbullying are treated with greater concern than physical bullying due to the increase in the number of victims of cyberbullying. According to Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston (2012, p. 249), currently, there are nearly forty-five laws prohibiting cyberbullying in the United States of America.

For instance, Title 18 of the United States Code also criminalizes sending threats to individuals through the internet. In the United States of America, federal laws prohibiting cyberbullying allows for prosecution of people who use electronic communication devices to bully others. Specific laws have also been established to protect children and persons aged below eighteen years from cyberbullying. Moreover, adults are also protected from serious forms of cyberbullying such as cyberstalking and exclusion that are based on differences in political ideologies. Laws that prohibit sending insulting text messages and emails to individuals, as well as posting of defamatory information on online public forums, social media, and networking sites that may harm individuals, have also been established.

What Is Being Done To Stop Cyberbullying

A number of initiatives have been established to help fight cyberbullying. In the U.S., a majority of states have established cyber-crime units to help fight to cyberbully. Numerous legislations and laws defining what amounts to cyberbullying, prohibiting cyberbullying, and aiming at effective prevention, control, and management of cyberbullying have also been enacted. For example, Smith and Mississippi State University (2010, p. 114) estimate that more than fifteen legislations were formulated between 2006 and 2009 by the U.S. Senate to fight against cybercrimes.

The anti-cyberbullying campaigns have also been instituted to fight against cyberbullying and to create social awareness about this vice. Moreover, both the federal and state governments have also mobilized and made available resources, such as funds, that would facilitate the fight against cyberbullying. A number of resources, such as reading materials, have also been made available to the public to enable people to deal with incidences of cyberbullying legally and effectively.

Innovations have also been used to fight cyberbullying. For example, a group of teenagers called Connecticut in New Haven developed a web application that is known as “Back off Bully”, which is used for fighting to cyberbully. Victims or witnesses of cyberbullying can use the web application in their computers and smartphones to report incidents of cyberbullying by giving details of the time, location, and how the bullying incurred. Similarly, the Global Cyber Law Database (GCLD), an online database, has also been created to make available laws that prohibit cyberbullying to assist victims of cyberbullying in the United States of America. Information on the GCLD can also be accessed and used by other countries outside the U.S. Victims of cyberbullying are also encouraged to report incidences of cyberbullying to the relevant authorities such as the police immediately after the situation occur.

Cyber Bullying Statistics

  1. 37% of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying, and 30% of them have experienced it multiple times (Pew Research Center, 2018).
  2. Girls are more likely to experience cyberbullying than boys (41% vs. 28%) (Pew Research Center, 2018).
  3. Approximately 70% of students report witnessing cyberbullying (National Center for Education Statistics, 2018).
  4. Cyberbullying victims are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018).
  5. 64% of teenagers who have been cyberbullied reported that it negatively affected their ability to learn and feel safe at school (National Center for Education Statistics, 2018).
  6. Cyberbullying victims are twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who have not experienced cyberbullying (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018).
  7. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyberbullying (National Crime Prevention Council, 2018).
  8. 22% of teenagers have shared personal information online, including contact information and photos, with someone they have never met in person (Pew Research Center, 2018).
  9. Nearly one in five young people have experienced some form of online sexual harassment, including sending or receiving explicit messages, images or videos (The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 2021).
  10. Cyberbullying can have long-lasting effects, with victims experiencing negative impacts for years after the initial incident (Patchin & Hinduja, 2019).


  • Pew Research Center. (2018). Teens, social media & technology.
  • National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Student reports of bullying: Results from the 2017 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey.
  • Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2018). Cyberbullying fact sheet: Common myths and facts. Cyberbullying Research Center.
  • National Crime Prevention Council. (2018). Cyberbullying: How to stop it.
  • The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (2021). Harassment of young people online.
  • Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2019). Cyberbullying: Identification, prevention, and response. CRC Press.

Cyber Bullying Persuasive Essay Conclusion

Cyberbullying is a serious crime that is constantly increasing. Moreover, controlling and managing cyber bullying is becoming increasingly difficult due to rapid technological advancements. Therefore, appropriate techniques, such as awareness campaigns and community policing, should be developed to help fight against cyberbullying. In addition, more legislation should be enacted to help in protecting children against cyberbullying. Internet Service Providers should also regulate the content of websites they host to help reduce cyberbullying and track down cyber bullies.

Free Annotated Bibliography Example

  • Aftab, P. (2010).

The article uncovers the nature of cyberbullying, its causes, ways of prevention, and related laws. It provides information about the most affected age groups, different methods of cyberbullying, and kinds of cyberbullies. The author thoroughly analyzes different types of a cyberbully, and suggests possible solutions to deal with each of them. The target audience of the article is parents, children, law enforcement authorities, and school officials. The source provides valuable and helpful information as it answers the questions of why children cyberbully each other. Moreover, it mentions the role of school, parents, and law enforcement in cyberbullying prevention and elimination.

  • Belnap, A. (2011).

The article suggests a bias related to the prohibition of allowing public school regulation if the cases do not presuppose the use of school technology. It investigates the regulations of cyberbullying and makes an emphasis on the students’ right to free speech. The target audience of the article includes parents, teachers, and schoolchildren. Also, it would be interesting to the people who deal with free speech in schools. I recommend the source as it is reliable and provides evident arguments.

  • Cowie, H., and Colliety, P. (2010).

The article addresses victims of cyberbullying and gives them advice. Also, it provides examples of cyberbullying and people involved in it. The authors present and analyze statistics that reveal the percentage of students who are cyberbullied. The main idea of the paper is that cyberbullying should be taken seriously and should not be neglected by parents. The target audience includes parents, officials, and people involved in combating cyberbullying. The paper contains valuable information as it presents real-life stories and discusses the ways of addressing the problem.

  • Dooley, J.J., Pyzalski, J., & Cross, D. (2009).

The article provides a definition of cyberbullying. It refers to the notion as aggressive behavior through electronic media. The authors study and analyze the reasons for cyberbullying repetitions, power imbalances, and its impact on a victim. Also, they compare cyberbullying with face-to-face bullying to find out which one is more harmful. The authors emphasize the need for further research to clarify the issue and prevent cyberbullying. Moreover, they focus on the social and psychological differences between bullying and cyber bullying. The target audience of the article is children, parents, and responsible officials. The source is helpful as it covers the topic of my research and provides reliable data.

  • Fritsch, E.J. and Stewart, D.M. (2011).

The article discusses the issue of cyberbullying and related school and law enforcement. The paper investigates the use of technology and its use by the modern generation. It also covers different innovations in the modern world. The authors speak about the benefits and drawbacks of technology use. They want to eliminate cybercrime and think about the ways of combating it. The target audience is teachers, students, and officials. The source is informative as it makes a reader aware of the current laws that enable schools to interfere in cyberbullying.

  • Hinduja, S., and Patchin, J. W. (2010).

The paper also addresses the issues of bullying and cyberbullying. It makes an emphasis on the fact that these problems may lead to suicide. Also, the research investigates the number of children and youth involved in cyberbullying and bullying and the effects of these actions. The most common ones are depressions, anxiety, and suicide. The target audience of the article includes children, parents, and officials. The paper is directly related to the topic of my research and contains helpful information concerning online attacks.

  • Lane, D.K. (2011).

The author emphasizes the First Amendment Right and argues that schools should be responsible for cyberbullying. The paper suggests ways of dealing with cyber speech and cyberbullying related to teachers. The target audience includes school officials and parents. The article is useful as it is directly related to the topic of my research.

  • Li, Q. (2008).

The article covers the issue of bullying experiences in cyberspace. It addresses the people who are making attempts to create anti-bullying software. The author states that this is a problem that affects millions of young people. Also, it may be referred to as a public health problem. Nowadays, more and more people use technology in their everyday lives. Therefore, they become exposed to an increased risk of cyberbullying. This type of bullying is common in schools. The target audience of the article includes parents, children, and active users of modern technology tools. The source is helpful as it presents the results of the online survey.

  • Long, C. (2008).

The paper suggests the idea that it is difficult to understand the nature of cyberbullying, its aim, and reasons. Also, people around the globe should unite their efforts to combat this problem and prevent negative outcomes. The central figure of the article is Ryan Halligan, who was bullied. The 13 years old boy could not bear bullying and committed suicide. The author tells that the boy’s father is doing his best to prevent this crime among other children. The target audience of the paper is children, parents, and educators. The source is helpful and valuable as it provides a real-life example and suggests ways of preventing this cybercrime.

  • Snakenborg, J., Van Acker, R., & Gable, R.A. (2011).

The article investigated the ways of cyberbullying presentation and possible interventions that can protect children. The authors analyze different types of technology and how they can be used to cyberbully others. The target audience would be children, parents, and principals. This source is valuable as it provides a deep outlook into the education options that can be effectively implemented instead of ruling.

  • Wheeler, T. (2011).

The author speaks about the danger of social networking, namely Facebook, as it is the most popular and the most commonly used site. The greatest danger of the social network is a high rate of involvement in cyberbullying. The central figure of the article is Phoebe Prince. After constant cyberbullying, the girl committed suicide. Online bullying is considered to be worse than bullying during school. The author aims at stopping cyberbullying without the violation of the First Amendment. The target audience is parents, school children, and school officials. This article contains valuable information as it analyzes the problems of social networking sites and their negative outcomes.

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