Standing up or standing by : Bystander intervention in cyberbullying on social media

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationNew Media and Society
Online published29 Jan 2020
Publication statusOnline published - 29 Jan 2020


Cyberbullying often happens in the presence of bystanders whose behaviors play a key role in changing dynamics of the situation. To examine the factors influencing cyberbystander likelihood of intervening in cyberbullying on social media, a 2 (degree of cyberbullying severity: high vs low) × 2 (level of interpersonal similarity: high vs low) between-subjects experiment was conducted (N = 132). Results indicated that cyberbystanders’ empathic responses depended on the severity of cyberbullying. The more empathy bystanders felt, the more likely they were to publicly and privately intervene. Moreover, the indirect effect of cyberbullying severity on willingness to intervene through empathy was more pronounced when the interpersonal similarity between victim and cyberbystander was low, rather than it was high.

Research Area(s)

  • Cyberbullying, cyberbystander, empathy, intervention, severity, social media