Cyberbullying: The Shades of Harm

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (2015) 22(1),106-123.

35 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2014 Last revised: 17 Mar 2017

See all articles by Colette Langos

Colette Langos

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Date Written: June 26, 2014


Empirical studies undertaken to date report that exposure to cyberbullying can have potentially serious consequences. This paper assesses the potential harm associated with the various specific manifestations (forms) of cyberbullying based on initial empirical research and a crime seriousness framework originally applied to traditional crimes. The analysis provides valuable theoretical insight into the associated harms of each of the forms of cyberbullying. This is significant in light of the infancy of the research in this area. The research demonstrates that the various manifestations are indeed associated with different levels of harm. It concludes that, based on a principle of harm, not all forms warrant criminalization.

Keywords: cyberbullying; online harm; computer crime; criminal law

Suggested Citation

Langos, Colette, Cyberbullying: The Shades of Harm (June 26, 2014). Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (2015) 22(1),106-123., Available at SSRN:

Colette Langos (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005

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