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

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24 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1397
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number6
Early online date29 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

User-Defined Keywords

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


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