Violence among peers in the real and virtual world

Vesna Bilić


In this paper we analyze the similarities and differences between traditional (physical, verbal, relational, sexual) and electronic forms of violent behavior among peers. Violent behavior, which is a characteristic of the real world (insults, disinformation, slander) has been extended to the virtual world, but modern technology has also allowed: a) new forms (flaming, electronic harassment and intimidation, false imprisonment, assault videotaping and sexting) and b) more intense and brutal youth participation in violent activities, most likely because of the anonymity, indirect contact with the victim and deflection of responsibility. Violence perpetrators in the real and virtual worlds both have similar characteristics (lack of empathy and shame, neglect of moral norms, a tendency to minimize personal guilt and responsibility, ignoring the consequences and victim suffering, and similar family problems), and the victims experience almost identical consequences: psychosomatic, emotional (especially anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts), educational, as well as difficulties in establishing and maintaining social contacts. Because of the large exposure and serious risks to psychological health, safety and welfare of children, there is a need to educate children, parents, teachers and doctors about the possible threats in the real and virtual worlds, and scientific research should provide tools for effective prevention and targeted interventions to reduce peer violence.

Conclusion - With regard to peer-to-peer violence in the real world, modern technology has made new modalities and the more intensive participation possible of children in violent activities, but the perpetrators of these forms of violence have similar characteristics, and the victims identical consequences.


Peer bullying; Electronic violence; Bullies; Victims

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