Subscribe via RSS Feed

The Difference Between Cyber Bullying And Cyber Stalking

There are a number of terms to describe online harassment including cyber bullying, cyber stalking and also trolling. Is there any real difference between these terms?  In short the answer is NO.

The term I prefer to use to describe all persons engaged in online harassment is cyber stalking. The term cyber bully does not really describe either the type of people or harassment activities they engage in online and is strongly identified with younger people. When you search for a definition of the two you will find the primary distinction made is one of age. If adults are involved then it is termed cyber stalking. When children and young adolescents are involved then it is termed cyber bullying. Legally speaking the law also does not view them differently other than taking into account the legal age of the persons involved.

It is for this reason I believe the term cyber stalker is a much more accurate term to describe all forms of online harassment and will be the term used throughout this book. Despite this, ‘Cyber Bully’ is the most popular term found on the Internet with regard to online harassment and the community at large readily understands the term cyber bully.

The term cyber bully has connotations of the old school yard bully but the phenomenon of online harassment among young people is not just an extension of the schoolyard bully into cyber space. In fact the physical bully in the schoolyard is not your typical cyber bully. It is possible for the roles to be reversed with the person that would normally be a victim of bullying in real life becoming the aggressor online.

Getting harassed by a schoolyard bully or thug on the street is a physical encounter while harassment in cyber space is done remotely from behind a computer screen which provides a physical safety barrier between the perpetrator and the victim. Much online harassment is done anonymously which provides the perpetrator, who is often a coward in real life, with a belief that they can conduct their campaign of harassment with impunity.

Most engaging in online harassment of another would seldom be willing to harass them in person. They are like the many mild, meek individuals that climb behind the steering wheel of a car and become rude and aggressive on the road. With a physical barrier and a degree of anonymity they transform into some sort of alter ego that they normally keep suppressed.