Difference Between Cyberbullying and Depression

Cyberbullying and depression are two disorders that may be deemed contemporary, having come into emphasis and debate only in the 21st century. At first look, it may seem that cyberbullying and depression have nothing to do with one another. Yet, it can be hard for modern parents to discern if their child is experiencing depression or a specific form of bullying. This condition is especially true throughout the teenage years, a peculiar time when children are most reluctant to discuss details of their everyday life with their parents. While unrelated, both are equally prevalent and as dangerous problems that need to be treated properly.

The natures of these two occurrences are substantially different. Cyberbullying is a societal phenomena while depression is more of a personal situation, although it interacts with social aspects. Cyberbullying is becoming a crime that is punished by law in several jurisdictions. Depression is a psychiatric diagnosis that can be made anywhere in the world. In the parts that follow, cyberbullying and depression are further examined and distinguished.

What is Cyberbullying?

Bullying that takes place online is not the only kind of cyberbullying. Bullying is already hard to identify without the addition of cyber. The word "harassment" is frequently used, whereas "abuse" is reserved for more severe and pervasive forms of treatment. Online gaming, phone calls and text messaging are thrown into the mix of platforms where the abuse happens, while related phrases such as online bullying, online harassment and cyberharassment are also employed. One possible definition of cyberbullying is the use of electronic means to harass or cause harm to another person.

Focus group research has found that the same social factors, such as aggressiveness, social desirability, intolerance, and unequal power dynamics, are at play in cyberbullying as they are in traditional forms of bullying in the classroom. Bullying is more likely to occur online because of its anonymity. Cyberbullying is frequently more savage than traditional bullying because its online aspect gives the victim the sense of reprieve or protection that they usually enjoy at home. Bullying has a greater impact as a result. While cyberbullies are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviour, hyperactivity, and drug abuse, cybervictims are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Bully-victims, who switch roles from victim to bully or vice versa, often show higher behavioural issues.

Children and teenagers, both as bullies and victims, are the most affected by cyberbullying, just like in conventional bullying. Bullying is more prevalent among females, and females are more likely to report it. Those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender are often the targets of bigotry and hate crimes motivated by ignorance or prejudice.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Depression is a complex condition that affects different individuals in different ways, but it is a leading cause of disability and decreased quality of life in children and adolescents.

Depression can be caused by a variety of factors, including biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It is a serious mental health condition that requires professional treatment, as it can lead to decreased academic performance, behavioral problems, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Differences: Cyberbullying and Depression

The following table highlights the major differences between Cyberbullying and Depression −





Cyberbullying is harassment and abuse that happens with the aid of modern technology.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of being down and a lack of interest.


Cyberbullying may be caused by aggression, social desirability, intolerance and unequal power dynamics as well as online anonymity.

Depression may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, psychological and social factors, as well as pre-existing conditions such as bipolar disorder.


Cyberbullying may cause high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality among its victims and high rates of aggression, hyperactivity and substance use among its perpetrators; bully- victims display more behavioral problems than bullies only or victims only.

Symptoms of depression include depressed mood, lack of interest, significant weight loss or gain, and hypersomnia or insomnia, among others.


Children and adolescents are most involved in cyberbullying, with females more likely to report being bullied than males. Social minorities in ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation are more likely to be victims as well.

Young adults, between 18 and 25 are most likely to have depression.Women are twice more likely to have depression than men, and more than twice as likely to attempt suicide, with men being four times more likely to die by suicide.

Other terms

Other terms used similarly with cyberbullying include online bullying, online harassment and cyberharassment.

Other terms for depression are clinical depression and major depressive disorder.


While cyberbullying and depression share some common features, they are distinct issues that require different approaches to address. Understanding the differences between the two is crucial for providing effective support and treatment to individuals who are struggling with one or both of these issues.

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023


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