International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
An Exploration of The Characteristics of Cyberbullying on TikTok


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the motivations of cyberbullies and characteristics of cyberbullying on TikTok. Past research explains that a key indicator of cyberbullying is moral disengagement. Researchers found that the lack of empathy is a factor in cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can negatively influence the mental health of people according to research, and is oftentimes correlated with depression. However, these studies only focus on social media as a whole and do not highlight the comment culture of TikTok and the content of these comments. Therefore, a content analysis was conducted to analyze the words and creators used to convey hate. This study answered the following research question: “What are the characteristics of cyberbullying on TikTok based on the comments left on the content creator's posts?” The sample was selected through purposeful random sampling and the participants were split into two groups: the content creators and the commenters. There were 7 content creators and 37 comments. The content of the comments were coded and organized into eleven relevant codes. These codes were then categorized into three themes: Comments Regarding Creators’ Appearance, Comments Regarding Creators’ Intellect, and Comments Impacting the Creators’ Psychological Well-Being. To ensure the validity of this study the codes were peer reviewed and rich thick descriptions are provided to uphold the integrity of these comments. Commenters mainly used mockery as a way to humble content creators especially when the content creators were trying to uplift themes. The majority of these commenters utilize profile pictures that did represent themselves most likely to avoid the consequences of their comments. The population most comfortable commenting as themselves was black women, especially when it was under posts of other black women. The demographics of this study was limited and would be best if there was more diversity, the nature of comment sections based on ethnicities could have an influence on the hate comments. This study could be useful for the education system and parents because they deal with adolescents who may be experiencing cyberbullying on the popular social media site, TikTok.