Study: Insecurity about Appearance Causes Aggression Online

While universal access and anonymity on the internet has enabled more freedom of expression than ever for all walks of life, this very nature has given rise to cyber violence that can easily be inflicted on or by anyone online. The Korean government has been wrestling with this new problem in modern-day wired life, attempting to further understand its causes and combat it through research and legislation. A new report about internet violence caught the attention of netizens.

Article from Herald Live News:

Insecurity About Appearance Leads to Aggressive Tendencies on the Internet


A new study revealed that dissatisfaction with appearance leads to aggressive tendencies on the internet.

According to the Green Umbrella Foundation for Children, on May 28th at the 7th Children’s Welfare Forum, Researcher at Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs Song Tae-min, and researcher at Korean Institute of Criminology Song Ju-yeong, gave a presentation about “The State of School Violence in Korea – Predictive Modeling of Categorized Cyber Bullying by Analyzing Social Media”.

The research team analyzed 435,000 posts related to “cyber bullying” on news websites, blogs and social networking media between January 2011 and March 2013. They employed “opinion mining,” a method that interprets and classifies implicit psychology as well as explicit expressions. Netizens were placed into one of three categories: aggressors, victims, and bystanders who write comments about an aggressor or a victim but do not get directly involved in the conflict.

The analysis revealed that the biggest cause of aggressors in cyber bullying is dissatisfaction with their appearance. It also showed that victims tend to avoid being around people and are not sociable while bystanders tend to be impatient and impulsive.

Past research shows that in real-life bullying, aggressors tend to feel superior to others based on their appearance and have a strong urge to dominate. The team realized the opposing trend can happen online because one’s identity or appearance is not revealed.

Researcher Song Tae-min said, “When they are frustrated with themselves but cannot vent it in real life, it seems they unleash their anger by attacking others on the anonymous internet. As they keep doing this, they get addicted to the pleasure it gives them and develop more aggressive behavior.”

Impulsive tendencies were found to be relevant to victims and bystanders but unrelated to aggressors.

Cyber violence happened the most between 10 p.m and midnight. Many posts related to bullying spread especially on Twitter as retweets.

It was also found that the number of posts related to bullying explosively increased when there were highly publicized issues such as “bullied middle school student’s suicide in Daegu” in 2011 and “girl group T-ara’s bullying controversy” in 2012.

The team said, “Cyber violence can be inflicted even when the victim is unknown to the aggressor. With this nature in mind, we need in-depth research and educational support programs.”

Comments from Naver:

Ke ke ke, that’s why those who write mean comments on the internet tend to be pathetic-looking, ke ke ke.

gogo****: [Responding to above]

It’s ironic that yours is a mean comment, too, and other comments here are also mean comments ^^;;


Mmm….that’s why Ilbe kids are ugly…… Forgive me for not understanding their wounded heart.


There is this old saying. “People act the way they look.” This is so true for all times and places.


I send my consolation to Ilbe bugs… Sorry for not understanding you guys so far.


Daum Agora zombies, Today Humor pretentious hypocrites, Nate Pann girls, BBQ Ilbe…they all look the same to outsiders but they bash each other and hate their own kin, ke ke ke.


Ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke, there are a lot of loud-mouthed netizens who are losers in real life.


That’s why Ilbe users are ugly..and I will get downvotes for saying this, ke ke. Lol @ aggressive tendency, ke ke.


Uglier women tend to talk more behind others’ backs, ke ke ke.


This must be true as Jo Jung-chi was once a famously mean netizen.


This article must have made mean netizens uncomfortable, ke ke ke ke ke.


So they are letting out their frustrations about their appearance on the internet.


Is that why Infinite Challenge’s Noh Hong-chul Special was bashed so much? Ke ke ke


Yeah, I knew it.


To be accurate, it doesn’t imply mean netizens tend to be ugly. It’s just that mean netizens tend to be unconfident and insecure about their appearance. You know, there are many people who are insecure about their looks even though they look decent. You don’t have to be ugly to be like that. Even if you are ugly, as long as you just accept the way you are, that wouldn’t cause aggression. Aggression is caused by insecurity.


That is natural. Those who write harsh comments just because they are anonymous are hermits or suffering from insecurity complexes.


Certainly, pretty and handsome people tend to have a good personality and good manners.


Agreed! Orcish bitches flock to articles about pretty women and pour out mean comments calling them disgusting or plastic monsters.


Pitiful……sad……..ㅠ tsk


For the same reason, if you met power bloggers in real life, they are fucking shitty and tacky. Because bums in real life are desperately trying to become famous online, ke ke ke ke.


Those bitches who write mean comments on articles about female celebrities must be doing that out of real jealousy.

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