A new study by researchers at Germany’s Bielefeld Univiersity revealed that young people who suffer from cyber bullying or cyber harassment struggle the most when fellow classmates make fun of them by distributing embarrassing photos and videos. One important point the online survey focused on was the level of distress the victim’s felt relating to the various forms of cyber bullying. For example, over half of those affected said the posting of personal photos and videos is upsetting when it is aimed at humiliating them. The impact of this form of cyber bullying is very hard to control, meaning that it is easy to duplicate and distribute photos and videos at any time, making them available to an unlimited audience.

In contrast, only about a quarter of the participants said insulting, threatening, and abusive behavior makes them very distressed or severely distressed. Social scientist Peter Sitzer believes, “This might be because this form of cyber bullying can be aimed directly at the victim. In this case, there are relatively few witnesses.” Another possibility is that young people think this is normal, everyday behavior.

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