Cyberbullying may call for new prevention tactics

Cyberbullying may call for new prevention tactics
Existing anti-bully programs won't get through to online aggressors, researcher says.

(HealthDay) -- Cyberbullying is different than traditional bullying, and anti-bullying programs need to use specific measures to combat online aggression, a new Canadian study says.

Cyberbullying is aggression that takes place online and through text messages.

"There are currently many programs aimed at reducing bullying in schools, and I think there is an assumption that these programs deal with cyberbullying as well," Jennifer Shapka, an associate professor in the education faculty at the University of British Columbia, said in a university news release.

"What we're seeing is that kids don't equate cyberbullying with traditional forms of schoolyard bullying," Shapka said. "As such, we shouldn't assume that existing interventions will be relevant to that is happening online."

Shapka and colleagues looked at 17,000 in grades eight to 12 in Vancouver and found that 25 percent to 30 percent of them reported they had experienced or taken part in cyberbullying, while 12 percent said they had participated in or experienced schoolyard .

According to the students, however, "95 percent of what happens online was intended as a joke and only 5 percent was intended to harm," Shapka said.

"It is clear that youth are underestimating the level of harm associated with cyberbullying," she added.

The findings suggest that students play multiple roles -- as bullies, victims and witnesses -- in and "downplay the impact of it, which means that existing education and are not going to get through to them," Shapka said.

"Students need to be educated that this 'just joking' behavior has serious implications," she said.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, which ended April 17 in Vancouver.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information: The National Crime Prevention Council has more about cyberbullying.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyberbullying and bullying are not the same: research

Apr 13, 2012

University of British Columbia research comparing traditional bullying with cyberbullying finds that the dynamics of online bullying are different, suggesting that anti-bullying programs need specific interventions to target ...

Bullying common in cyberspace

Oct 02, 2008

A new study in the Journal of School Health reveals that cyberbullying is common among teens who are frequent internet users, with 72 percent of respondents reporting at least one incident during the past year.

Gaga's anti-bullying stance can help, says expert

Sep 26, 2011

Lady Gaga and other celebrities commenting on bullying have the chance to teach young people about the horrors of bullying abuse, says the director of the University at Buffalo's Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying ...

Recommended for you

User comments