Study shows cyber bullies dissatisfied with appearance

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Jun 2, 2014 - 21:04
  • Updated : Jun 2, 2014 - 21:04
Those who are unsatisfied with their appearance have a higher chance of becoming cyber bullies, according to a study by a group of local scholars.

The research findings suggest that cyber bullies may be the opposite of real-life bullies, many of whom are known to take pride in their appearance and have a strong desire to dominate others, the scholars said.

“Those who are not happy with themselves seem to release their anger and frustration by attacking others online, where many remain anonymous,” said scholar Song Tae-min from the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

“And it seems like many cyber bullies take more pleasure when they repeatedly attack others, and they become even more aggressive as a result of that.”

The scholars, including Song Joo-young from the Korean Institute of Criminology and Song from the KIHASA, examined some 435,000 online posts about bullying shared on SNS, blogs and news sites, from January 2011 to March 2013.

Based on the posts, the scholars researched three different groups: bullies, victims and “bystanders.” Bystanders are those who choose not to get involved in the act of bullying, nor try to defend the victims ― while still writing posts online.

The scholars concluded that while many of the cyber bullies were unhappy with their self-image, victims tended to lack social skills. Meanwhile, bystanders were found to be impatient and impulsive.

The research findings also said cyber bullying occurred the most from 10 p.m. to midnight every day. The number of online posts about bullying increased dramatically when a 13-year-old victim of school bullying committed suicide in Daegu in 2011, and the bullying scandal with K-pop group T-ara broke out in 2012, the scholars said.

“Cyber bullies often attack others without knowing anything about the victims,” they said. “We need more research and education programs that take account of such characteristics.”

By Claire Lee (