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Study Examines Online Bullying

Those who believe society is turning the tide on cyber bullying may be surprised by the results of a recent study.

Kelly Dillon

An experiment conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University found when college students noticed online bullying taking place in a chat room a small percentage became directly involved. The experiment, Eureka Alert reports,  involved 221 students and a chat room moderator and ‘victim’ who worked off a script to then gauge reaction from the students in the chat room.

The study showed only 10 percent of students who noticed the abuse intervened. A much higher number, though, did react after the bullying with about 70 percent indirectly intervening by either giving the moderator or the chat room a bad review following the incident.

“The results didn’t surprise me,” said Kelly Dillon, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in communication at The Ohio State University. “Many other studies have shown bystanders are reluctant to get involved when they see bullying. The results disappointed me, as a human, but they didn’t surprise me as a scientist.”

With bullying being a hot button topic in the media for the past few years, the results may be surprising, but Dillon stated in a report on the matter that judging those who did not act directly during the experiment negatively may be a bit harsh.

“At the end of the study, when we told participants about the true purpose of the study, many who didn’t respond or who responded indirectly said that they wished they had directly intervened. Many said they wanted to respond to the bullying, but weren’t sure what they should do,” Dillon said.

About the author


W. Brice McVicar

W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.