Social Media, Cyberbullying and Gen Z



Gen Z is arguably the most internet-dependent among all generations. Being digital native, Gen Z is more vulnerable to social media addiction and cyberbullying than any other age cohort. Increased use of social media has seen a rise in addictions, cyberbullying, trolling, fake news, which serve as major concerns in societies across the world (Salo, Mantymaki & Islam, 2018). While social media has had a profound impact on the way that the younger generations communicate, engage, and entertain themselves, it is crucial to ensure responsible use of social media and address its negative effects on the wellbeing of Gen Zs.

The use of social media has been helpful to cope with the isolation during COVID-19 lockdowns (Singh, Dixit & Joshi, 2020). Consequently, there has been an increased dependence on social media among university students during the pandemic (Saputri & Yurmani, 2021). However, the adverse effects of such increased dependence on social media can be long lasting. Since social media has become a primary source of information during the pandemic, it leaves users more susceptible to fake news, anxiety, and depression. Besides, research reported a change in the motivations for social media usages and the nature of posts with abusive and violent contents being found as the highest in growth during COVID-19 outbreak (Babvey et al., 2021). These emerging trends and their effects are more salient for Gen Z since they are just being independent in terms of their earning and living and thus may become susceptive to irresponsible uses of social media.

Therefore, the understanding of the bright and dark sides as well as responsible uses of social media need to be re-examined and/or re-affirmed amid this time of change. This underscores the need for continued research on the positive and negative impacts that social media has on the younger generations in the current ‘new normal’ era to better inform strategies for social media platforms, mental health professionals and policy makers.

Purpose and Themes 

This special issue aims to stimulate interdisciplinary research leading to papers that have substantial relevance with Gen Z, the need for responsible uses and the danger of irresponsible uses of social media. It highlights on evolving nature of social media usage and its impacts on individuals to better understand the nuances of the above-mentioned social issues, and to develop coping strategies that aim at minimising the negative effects of social media use. It invites conceptual/theoretical or empirical papers using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods from individuals and/or teams of researchers across academic fields around the world. The key themes of the special issue include (but not limited to):

  • Trends and patterns of social media uses among Gen Z
  • Gen Z and responsible uses of social media
  • Misinformation, disinformation and partisanship in social media and impact for Gen Z  
  • Social media addiction, cyberbullying, and the pandemic
  • Excessive use of social media, cyberbullying, and mental health of Gen Z
  • Typologies of cyberbullying and Gen Z
  • Drivers of cyberbullying for Gen Z
  • Recovery and resilience strategies to deal with social media addiction and cyberbullying for Gen Z
  • Role of peers and family members in combating cyberbullying
  • Role of social and educational institutions in combating social media addiction and cyberbullying
  • Cyberbullying and self-care for Gen Z
  • Cyberbullying and self-esteem for Gen Z
  • Social media use, social comparison, and negative emotion (e.g., envy)
  • Envious behavior in social media and cyberbullying 

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e., in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication elsewhere while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 1 July 2023   

Guest Editors

Fazlul K. Rabbanee, Curtin University, Australia

Email: [email protected]


Sean Lee, Curtin University, Australia

Email: [email protected]


Ian Phau, Curtin University, Australia

Email: [email protected]


Babvey, P., Capela, F., Cappa, C., Lipizzi, C., Petrowski, N., & Ramirez-Marquez, J. (2021). Using social media data for assessing children’s exposure to violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Child Abuse & Neglect116, 1047.

Salo, J., Mäntymäki, M., & Islam, A. N. (2018). The dark side of social media–and Fifty Shades of Grey introduction to the special issue: the dark side of social media. Internet Research. 28 (5), 1166-1168.

Saputri, R. A. M., & Yumarni, T. (2021). Social media addiction and mental health among university students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-15.

Singh, S., Dixit, A., & Joshi, G. (2020). “Is compulsive social media use amid COVID-19 pandemic addictive behaviour or coping mechanism? Asian journal of psychiatry54, 102290.