I read about a study a while ago which found that people who are cyberbullied are more likely to turn the tables and become cyberbullies.
The study noted:
“Child psychologist Shane Gallagher of Cambridgeshire Educational Psychology Service in the U.K. surveyed 239 teens (128 boys and 101 girls) aged 11 to 16 and their parents. The teens were asked about their experiences with bullying online.”
“The results showed a strong positive correlation between being cyberbullied and cyberbullying; those teens who said they had been victimized were more likely to say they’d been perpetrators as well.”
I find this interesting, but not surprising.
Sure some people have probably read this and thought it would be peculiar that someone who had undergone a negative experience would later project that same experience on another, but let’s face it; sometimes the easiest way to divert negative attention is to pass it along to someone else.
It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. I remember, between grades seven and nine, when the most popular people were also the meanest. I’m ashamed to say that I fell prey to this same cycle of putting others down as a tactic to keep the attention off of me.
But things change.
I changed quite quickly when I realized that my own bullying stemmed from insecurities. It’s so easy to tear someone down and so difficult to apologize to that person for it when you realize how bad your behavior was.
I was glad that I got out of this negative habit early when the high school mentality shifted and suddenly it wasn’t cool to be mean anymore.
It’s good to remember that anything put online has the potential to stay there forever – and that ugly behavior can follow you. So take this study as a reminder that bullying is cyclical and should be avoided in any form.