Gender and Cyberbullying Targets

June 30, 2017

Female university students are more likely to be ridiculed online about their sexual activity, and men are more likely to be bullied about their sexual orientation and whether they’re skilled or talented enough at sports and hobbies, a new study has found.

A new study out of the University of Puget Sound, led by Nicholas Brody, an assistant professor in communication studies, examined nearly 500 instances of cyberbullying on Facebook.

The data was collected from 265 undergraduate students, predominantly women, enrolled at a large Southwestern university that was not identified in the study, which will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

In interviewing participants, the researchers categorized the cyberbullying. The most frequent topic that cropped up was related to romantic relationships, then friendships.

A person’s sexual promiscuity and their skills, like their artwork, were also heavily targeted.

Women were more likely to be targeted based on sex, and men their talents.

“Although many theoretical perspectives have been offered to explain differences in social behavior between men and women, social role theory provides a particularly useful framework for understanding the sex differences uncovered in the present study. Social role theory asserts that social differences between men and women largely emerge based on the differing roles they are expected to take in society. Men and women thus develop attributes and skills to better equip themselves for success in these roles,” the study reads.

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