Cyber bullying: an emerging problem in COVID-19 times among students taking online classes undergoing graduation in North India

Singh Anshu, Kumar Prem, Purwar Neeti


Background: As COVID-19 continues, academics have shifted from practical and virtual classes to web-based online lectures. Being an online portal, virtual offences can also take place. One of them is cyberbullying. Students are already undergoing phase of psychosocial changes because of this scenario. If an incident of cyberbullying happens with them or with their friends and siblings, it causes a great impact on their mental health. To determine the prevalence of cyberbullying among students who were currently taking online classes.

Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted through Google form from July to September 2020 on the students >18 years taking online classes. All the students who gave consent and filled the form were included. The aim of the study was explained. Information collected was kept strictly confidential.

Results: A total of 462 participants (mean age=22±4 years) completed an online survey comprising of about 55% females and 45% males. Around 22% of the study subjects had reported that they were bullied either in schools or previously also. Through this online survey nearly 11% of the study subjects reported that they were cyber bullied in the past 2-3 months and about 13% were not sure whether they were cyberbullied or not. There is statistically significant difference (p value=0.0081) between gender and cyberbullying and also among medical and non-medical students (p value=0.0001).

Conclusions: Cyberbullying is increasing along with online classes which is more experienced with girls. According to this study, it is more experienced by the girls now a days. There is a marked difference in the occurrence of cyberbullying among medical and non-medical streams.


Cyberbullying, Online, Students, North India

Full Text:



Deng SQ, Peng HJ. Characteristics of and Public Health Responses to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak in China. J Clin Med. 2020;9(2):575.

Cascella M, Rajnik M, Aleem A, Dulebohn SC, Napoli R. Features, Evaluation, and Treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19). StatPearls, 2021.

WHO. WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19, 2019. Available at: Accessed on 21 October 2021.

Kakar A, Nundy S. COVID-19 in India. J R Soc Med. 2020;113(6):232-3.

Vanderbilt D, Augustyn MC. Bullying, CB, and School Violence. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme III JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 1st ed. New Delhi: Elsevier; 2016: 231.

Sourander A, Brunstein KA, Ikonen M, Lindroos J, Luntamo T, Koskelainen M, et al. Psychosocial risk factors associated with cyberbullying among adolescents: a population-based study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(7):720-8.

Smith PK, Del Barrio C, Tokunaga RS. Principles of CB Research: Definitions, Measures, and Methodology. How useful are the terms. American Psychological Association. 2013;26-40.

Grigg DW. Cyber-aggression: Definition and concept of CB. Australian J Guidance Counsel. 2010;20:143-56.

Lawrence FJ. Prevalence and Consequences of Negative Workplace Cyber Communications in the Australian Public Sector. Australia: Queensland University of Technology; 2015.

Geel M, Vedder P, Tanilon J. Relationship between peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):435-42.

Olweus D, Limber SP. Bullying in school: evaluation and dissemination of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2010;80(1):124-34.

Barlett CP. Anonymously hurting others online: The effect of anonymity on CB frequency. Psychol Popular Media Culture. 2015;4:70-9.

Bauman S, Toomey RB, Walker JL. Associations among bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide in high school students. J Adolesc. 2013;36(2):341-50.

Coyne I, Chesney T, Logan B, Madden N. Griefing in a virtual community: An exploratory survey of second life residents. J Psychol. 2009;214-21.

McKenna P. The rise of CB. J New Sci. 2007;195:26-7.

Sarkar A. Step-by-step to stopping the cyber-bully: How organizations can help to tackle the menace. Human Resource Management Int Digest. 2015;23:31-3.

Snyman R, Loh JM. CB at work: The mediating role of optimism between CB and job outcomes. Computers in Human Behaviour. 2015;53:161-8.

Sathyanarayana RTS, Bansal D, Chandran S. Cyberbullying: A virtual offense with real consequences. Indian J Psych. 2018;60(1):3-5.

Home T, Analysis NM. India Ranks Third on Global Cyber Bullying List- Technology News, 2012. Available at: http://www. Accessed on 21 October 2021.

Qudah MF, Barashdi HS, Hassan EMAH, Albursan IS, Heilat MQ, Bakhiet SFA, et al. Psychological Security, Psychological Loneliness, and Age as the Predictors of Cyber-Bullying Among University Students. Community Ment Health J. 2020;56(3):393-403.

Anirban S, Chaudhuri A. Are social networking sites a source of online harassment for teens? Evidence from survey data. Child Youth Serv Rev. 2010;33:284-90.

Lavanya R. Prasad KG. A Study on the Prevalence of Cyber Bullying in Chennai. Middle-East J Scient Res. 2014;22(5):661-72.

Kelley K, Clark B, Brown V, Sitzia J. Good practice in the conduct and reporting of survey research. Int J Qual Health Care. 2003;15(3):261-6.

Child Rights and You. Online Safety and Internet Addiction Study Conducted Amongst Adolescents in Delhi-NCR), 2020. Available at: Accessed on 21 October 2021.

Comparitech. CB facts and statistics for 2020, 2020. Available at: /internetproviders/CB-statistics. Accessed on 21 October 2021.

Boynton PM, Greenhalgh T. Selecting, designing, and developing your questionnaire. BMJ. 2004;328(7451):1312-5.

Crocker L, Algina J. Introduction to Classical and Modern Test Theory. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning; 2008.