Bullying is an unacceptable and aggressive conduct among children that entails real or perceived power asymmetry (Donegan, 2012). The behaviors can be physical such as attacking someone or deliberate use of the digital platform to communicate wrong, humiliating, or adverse information about another person, which is often referred to as cyberbullying. Kohlberg’s theory of moral development provides an approach to explore the issue of cyberbullying from the perpetrator’s perspective.
Lawrence Kohlberg believed that moral judgments depend on social engagement. People advance in their moral acumen through a series of six recognizable stages, categorized into three levels (Donegan, 2012). Level one, pre-conventional morality, which states that peoples’ ethical conducts relies on the principles of adults and authority, and the repercussion of adhering or contravening the rules. Level two, the conventional stage, which explains that one’s morality rests on their personal and societal relationships. Children accept the principles of authority since they believe it is essential to establish a positive relationship and societal order. Level three, the post-conventional stage, which elaborates that one’s morality depends on more abstract guidelines and values. People presume that some rules are unfair and need changing. An adolescent may retaliate to a cyberbully by sending a defamatory message online since he believes it is right to do so regardless of the authority.
Technological advancements have proliferated bullying. The advent of internet leads to the rise of online forums that offered a communal breeding zone for youths to assault each other. Internet progression further brought about websites and the eventual advent of social media, like Myspace, which sociologists consider as the pioneer of social media (Donegan, 2012). The sites enable users to generate their profiles and engage in the cyberspace with friends. Online publication of personal data endangers users to cyberbullying activities. Additionally, creating identified profiles in the social media like Facebook and Google+ can mislead and threaten different people. The capability for adolescents to remain anonymous enables them to exchange forms of information without fear of consequences. Anonymous blogging resulting from technological development, bolsters cyberbullying and fuels ethical discussions that address harsh topics. College ABC and Juicy Campus face stringent rules because of their verbal offensive nature.
Donegan, R. (2012). Bullying and Cyberbullying: History, Statistics, Law, Prevention and Analysis. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 3(1), 33-42.