How Can Mobile Technology Help to Reduce the Incidences of Cyberbullying?

Veronica Angel, Eastern Washington University


Cyberbullying is prevalent among youth and adolescents. The anonymous characteristic is appealing as it releases inhibitions to act in an aggressive manner. The objective of this report is to assess mobile technology as a tool to provide resource and support to address cyberbullying. We assessed the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), a national database that tracks six health risk behaviors that contribute to death and disability in youth; we looked at the proportion of youth who reported “ever been electronically bullied.” We also reviewed literature on the social and cultural causes and consequences of electronic bullying. Finally, we assessed the mobile health promotion literature to understand how short messaging service (SMS) can help. Cyberbullying is a nationwide phenomenon with 16% of persons reporting a recent experience. 75% of 14-17 year olds and 95% of 18-29 year olds text and 33% of teens own cell phones. An opportunity exists therefore to intervene with youth via social networking support and education about the implications of bullying.