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Exploring the experiences of cyberbullying in a sample of Saskatchewan adolescents

Date

2013-07-03

Journal Title

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Type

Degree Level

Masters

Abstract

As technology advances, it appears that the adolescent age group is becoming more aligned with the various forms of communication that are available such as cell phones with texting, instant messaging on the Internet, as well as social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Bullying with these forms of communication technology has become known as Cyberbullying (Li, 2006). Communication technology use across Canada has been steadily increasing over the past few decades (Statistics Canada, 2010). With this increase, it is not surprising that adolescents are increasing the amount of time that they spend with communication technology (i.e. cell phones and Internet) whether it is school related use or socializing. Communication technology makes it more difficult for victims of cyberbullying to avoid the bullying and potentially increases the side effects that a victim may feel. This study explored how adolescents experience cyberbullying. More specifically, in order to set the context for the study, it was explored how adolescents use communication technology (i.e. internet, cell phone, etc.) and whether there are differences between genders. Then, with specific focus on cyberbullying, how adolescents respond to the cyberbullying experience (as victim or perpetrator) and what views or attitudes adolescents had regarding cyberbullying were explored. Anonymous questionnaires regarding cyberbullying and student life satisfaction were completed by 334 students in Grade 11 and 12 in a southern Saskatchewan high school. Approximately 33 percent of participants indicated being a victim of cyberbullying, 20 percent reported cyberbullying others, and almost 60 percent witnessed cyberbullying. Females reported experiencing stronger feelings in response to being cyberbullied than males and also felt more guilt than males when cyberbullying others. Those females who had experienced cyberbullying victimization tended to hold more negative attitudes towards cyberbullying (i.e., thinking cyberbullying is harmful) than males. Males who tended to bully others more frequently tended to have more positive attitudes toward cyberbullying (i.e., thinking cyberbullying was a normal part of adolescence) than females. Participants also offered potential solutions on how to stop cyberbullying that included increasing education and awareness as well as using blocking and privacy features of Internet devices. Other findings indicate that participants who were not involved in cyberbullying, either as a victim or cyberbully, were more likely to report higher levels of life satisfaction than those involved in cyberbullying.

Description

Keywords

Cyberbullying, Communication Technology, Bullying

Citation

Degree

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

Program

School and Counselling Psychology

Citation

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