Campus News

Associate professor shares cyberbullying research

Amanda Giordano, an associate professor in the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s counseling and human development services department, was recently quoted in a Health Day article about boys and cyberbullying.

Giordano and her team surveyed more than 400 teenagers, ages 13-19, and defined cyberbullying as personal attacks, harassment, discriminatory behavior, spreading defamatory information, misrepresenting oneself online, spreading private information, social exclusion and cyberstalking.

“There are some people who engage in cyberbullying online because of the anonymity and the fact that there’s no retaliation,” she said.

Social media sites are designed to activate the neurochemical dopamine in the brain’s “reward center,” Giordano said. This feeds into addictive behavior and teens could be using cyberbullying to get online attention: likes, shares, comments and retweets, she suggested.

“Social media addiction is when people crave it when they’re not on it, and continue their social media use despite negative consequences,” Giordano said. “Some negative consequences could be they’re tired during the day because they’re scrolling all night long, they’re having conflicts with their parents, they’re getting poor grades in school or they’re engaging in actions online that they later regret, but they still continue to use social media.”

The study also found that boys were more likely to cyberbully others than girls.

The article continued to emphasize Giordano’s recommendation that schools should start cyberbullying education earlier and bring awareness to social media addiction as a preventive method.