Kenny, Megan (2018) WHO’S FOLLOWING YOU? CYBER VIOLENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Doctoral thesis, University pf Huddersfield.

Social media use has become an integral part of daily life. Within these increasingly influential online communities, a proportion of users are subject to negative online contact in a phenomenon labelled cyberviolence. Cyberviolence is defined as harm delivered by electronic means to a person or people who perceive this contact as negative.A review of existing literature revealed that, despite reliance on distinct offline definitions, all behaviours explored could be classified according to three key themes: sexual, threatening and humiliating cyberviolence. To assess the prevalence of these forms of cyberviolence across social media, 370 participants completed an online survey that featured items relating to victimisation and perpetration, as well as a number of well-established personality measures. These measures explored key traits and models of personality including the Big Five model to assess the potential role of an individual’s personality in their engagement in cyberviolence. The results of this thesis suggest that differences exist between those involved in cyberviolence and those who do not engage in cyberviolence on certain key personality traits including psychopathy and narcissism. Models of cybervictimisation, perpetration and a hybrid of cybervictimisation/perpetration revealed that these traits explained approximately ten percent of the variance in cyberviolence indicating that other factors, besides individual personalities, may have more influence over engagement in and/or experience of these behaviours. Overall findings suggest that there is little to demarcate those involved in cyberviolence, as victims or perpetrators, leading to the conclusion that this is not a niche area of deviance, but may be a mainstream side effect of social media use. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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