Cyberbullying in Higher Education

min read

By Navika Mahal and Vikram Kulothungan

Navika Mahal and Vikram Kulothungan are graduate students in the Master of Science in Information Security Policy and Management (MSISPM) program at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University.

Today society faces a new form of bullying that uses technology to cause insurmountable emotional distress and harm to individuals. A huge problem with cyberbullying is that it can affect the target 24 hours a day and seven days a week; there is no way to escape it. Furthermore, the negative messages and images posted are available to anyone on the Internet. Students on college campuses, who have become victims to these attacks, often have no idea how to protect themselves, or what precautions and steps they can take to avoid becoming a victim in the first place. In addition, students not only bully each other, they also attack professors via sites such as

College campuses can teach students and faculty to take the following actions if they become victims of cyberbullying:

  • Reach out to family, friends, government, and university officials for help before the situation gets out of control.
  • Deactivate social media accounts until the situation is under control.
  • If fellow students or professors become victims of cyberbullying, stand up for them and let university officials know about the situation.
  • Avoid posting pictures, videos, messages, and other information you would not want shared with others on the Internet.
  • Understand that eventually the individual who is cyberbullying you will be caught and face consequences. Even though the attacker believes the Internet is anonymous, it is not.

College campuses can provide awareness training regarding cyberbullying to faculty and students in the following ways:

  • Awareness games
  • Social media outreach
  • Educational events
  • On-campus press conferences
  • Rallies against cyberbullying
  • Guest speakers to inform students and professors of the consequences of cyberbullying others
  • Holiday events, especially in October during National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Cybercrimes including cyberbullying are pertinent issues for everyone today. We all need to use more caution in interacting with others, not only in the physical world but also in the cyber world. Social media has been helpful in keeping people in contact and maintaining relationships, but social media has also caused problems through the over-sharing of personal information vulnerable to attacks by cyberbullies or criminals. The campus population also needs to become better informed about probable cyber threats and how to handle them in case they become embroiled in a cybercrime situation. Many cases on various college campuses have shed light on this issue in the past few years and will help lawmakers and enforcement agents advance their knowledge of and regulations addressing cybercrimes.


© 2014 Navika Mahal and Vikram Kulothungan