Across 347 Hong Kong Chinese college students (225 females, 122 males, Mage = 20.27, SD = 2.02), their experiences in witnessing cyberbullying and psychological well-being were studied. Cyberbullying has become a serious concern among Internet users worldwide. Despite a number of past studies having been conducted about cyberbullies and cyber victims, very little is known about Internet users who witness cyberbullying, especially in a Hong Kong Chinese population. Therefore, this study aimed to study the relationship among witnessing cyberbullying, self-esteem and depression. Results suggested that 96% of the participants reported witnessing cyberbullying in the past three months, while 38% of them seldom witnessed it, 41% of them sometimes witnessed it, and 17% of them witnessed it frequently. Male students witnessed significantly more cyberbullying than female students. With age, gender, and time spent on using social media online being controlled, self-esteem negatively explained 41.6% of variance in depression, while self-esteem was further controlled, witnessing cyberbullying still positively and uniquely explained an additional 4.6% of the variance in depression. This study demonstrates that while Hong Kong Chinese college students who have low self-esteem are already more likely to have depression, witnessing cyberbullying would worsen the situation. The study implies the theoretical and practical importance of studying online witnesses of cyberbullying, on top of the current focus on cyberbullies or victims in the existing literature.
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2017|