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Extending the Current Theorization on Cyberbullying: Importance of Including Socio-Psychological Perspectives

TitleExtending the Current Theorization on Cyberbullying: Importance of Including Socio-Psychological Perspectives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHellsten L-ann M., Crespi I, Hendry B, Fermani A
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published10/2021
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordscyberbullying, identity theory, social network analysis, socio-psychological approach

Despite an abundance of research from multiple perspectives and disciplines, to date cyberbullying research has been fragmented and is often conducted atheoretically, using theories borrowed from general psychology and/or criminology, or considers only individual-level explanations such as demographics, personalities, and psychological conditions which may be insufficient to fully understand and explain the behaviour. Social psychological approaches that examine the everyday power relations in children’s lives and the study of identity, relationships, and belonging systems may provide meaningful context and a more holistic perspective. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the positive impact of applying identity theories and a sociological perspective to the study of cyberbullying. This paper provides an overview of cyberbullying, followed by examples of how general psychological theories and theories borrowed from criminology and aggression have been applied to cyberbullying, including a cyberbullying-specific theory. Several key theories of identity that could be employed in the study of cyberbullying are then identified. Lastly, the utility of using a socio-psychological perspective using social identity theory and social network analysis to study of cyberbullying is explored. In order to manage cyber violence, we need to act on multiple levels, including individual, relational, organizational, and community levels.