M.C. Martínez-Monteagudo1, R. Escortell2, B. Delgado1

1University of Alicante (SPAIN)
2Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (SPAIN)
The maladaptive use of technologies such as the Internet and smartphones has created new environments of intimidation and virtual harassment. Although there is no consensus about the definition of cyberbullying, the researchers agree that peer harassment by technological means is characterized by the triad of features provided by Olweus (1999), that is, imbalance of power, repetitive nature and intention to harm to the victim.

Although the majority of research on cyberbullying has focused on the study of prevalences, sociodemographic variables, risk factors and consequences, the way to deal with cyberbullying events has also aroused the interest of the scientific community, providing data about coping strategies in victims, bystanders and bully-victims. These evidences provide valuable information to define and respond to this growing phenomenon.

The purpose of this study is to review the coping strategies of children and adolescents involved in cyberbullying cases. To this end, a review was examined on the strategies developed by victims, bystanders and bully-victims of virtual harassment. The analysis was carried out following the method of document review of articles, theses, book chapters, review studies and papers presented at conferences, available in Scopus, Scielo, Proquest, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases.

The studies emphasize that the victims have a different perception of the aggressor depending on whether this is known or anonymous, being more harmful in the latter case. In addition, the victimized minors consider as their first option to ignore or not respond to the harasser, although this avoidance strategy is usually not effective in the long term. As for the bully-victims, they claim to use more confrontational strategies, such as expressions of anger and manifestations of direct confrontation.

Regarding the bystanders of cyberbullying, the results of the reviewed investigations are not conclusive. Thus, the evidence indicates that witnesses of cyberbullying intercede more for the victim in person than online and usually act in the conflict once it ends, and not during it. In addition, bystanders tend to attribute greater responsibility to victims in harassment when they are extroverted, influencing their involvement in mediating the conflict.

This study provide relevant information on the forms of action of those involved in cyberbullying during and after the harassment and help define the phenomenon to optimize intervention and prevention resources.