A Critical Discourse Analysis of Cyberbullying Among University Students in Pakistan
Keywords:Cyber-bullying, language used by bullies, psychological pressure, social media, Van Dijk’s three-dimensional model
In the present era of technology, cyber-bullying on social media is a rising concern all over the world. The current study aims at exploring the language used by bullies among university students on social media especially Facebook and Instagram so as to unfold how bullies exploit their fellows for dominance. The data was collected from five students of the university with the age ranging from 20-25 years. The participants provided the data in the form of screenshots of the chats. For the analysis of the data, Van Dijk’s three-dimensional model was used to analyze the discourse on three levels: text, social cognition, and social context in the context of the principles of Critical Discourse Analysis. The results and discussion revealed that the bullies exploited the victims via their language to achieve certain goals which included blackmailing and making the victims feel inferior by targeting their weak points. The study concluded that the bullies targeted the weaker fellows in the circle and maintained an imbalance of power by using harsh, offensive, abusive, and target-specific words. The victims faced despair, nervousness, hopelessness, insecurity, and in some cases psychological pressure leading to suicidal behavior.