On social media websites, there appears to be unwritten rules about what is acceptable, and the study suggests that over-sharing personal emotions or information violates these rules, the researchers said.

The study suggested that rather than placing the burden on the victims to monitor their own online behaviour, more online empathy is needed.

This is a challenge because the bystanders do not see the anguish of victims of online bullying, the authors noted.

The study involved 118 people, from throughout the United States, aged between 18-22. Around 58 percent of the participants were female.

The researchers created a fictitious Facebook profile of an 18-year-old girl named Kate. In response to a post, Kate received a mean comment, which said, "Who cares! This is why nobody likes you."

Participants responded to questions about how much they blamed Kate for being cyberbullied, how much empathy they had for Kate and how likely they would be to support her.

Regardless of whether Kate's post was positive or negative, participants viewed Kate more negatively when she posted a highly personal disclosure, the findings, published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, showed.

 

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