Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Cyberbullying in Japan: An Exploratory Study

Academic journal article International Journal of Cyber Society and Education

Cyberbullying in Japan: An Exploratory Study

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In recent years, with the advances in technology and the affordability of the Internet, cyberbullying has become more prevalent in the lives of children and adults alike. It is usually defined as harmful behavior that is intentional and repetitive, and involves the use of information and communications technologies (Vivolo-Kantor, Martell, Holland, & Westby, 2014). However, the idea that repetition is a necessary factor in cyberbullying has come under fire as the Internet enables instant distribution of large amounts of data to large populations of society (Dooley, Pyzalski, & Cross, 2009; Law, Shapka, Hymel, Olson, & Waterhouse, 2012; Vandebosch & Van Cleemput, 2008).

Research shows that on average 20%-40% of children have suffered from cyberbullying in their lives. Cybervictimization has been associated with anxiety (Campbell, Spears, Slee, Butler, & Kift, 2012), academic problems (Beran & Li, 2007), depression (Baker & Tanrikulu, 2010; J. Wang, Nansel, & Iannotti, 2011), decreased self-esteem (Tynes, Rose, & Williams, 2010), suicidal thoughts (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010) and even suicide attempts (Messias, Kindrick, & Castro, 2014). These negative outcomes have parallels throughout literature on traditional bullying, which has been associated with negative self-image (Lunde, Frisén, & Hwang, 2007), lower academic performance (Juvonen, Wang, & Espinoza, 2010), depression and suicidal ideation (Klomek et al., 2008) and lower self-esteem (Salmivalli, Kaukiainen, Kaistaniemi, & Lagerspetz, 1999). Furthermore, those who experienced traditional bullying are more likely to commit crimes in later life (Olweus, 2011). While some similarities exist between traditional bullying and cyberbullying, there are three significant differences. First, although not always perfectly, the adept technology user can conceal his or her identity and remain almost completely anonymous. Second, the Internet never sleeps and its affordability makes it very difficult to avoid cyberbullying. Third, the online world is like a large stage where anyone can become a spectator. Even a single image or a video can spread very quickly, increasing the negative effect for the victim (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009, pp. 20-25).

To explain or predict cyberbullying, researchers have employed self-reports, in which "having fun" and entertainment have been cited as the most common reasons for participation in cyberbullying (Mishna, Cook, Gadalla, Daciuk, & Solomon, 2010; Rafferty & Vander Ven, 2014; Raskauskas & Stoltz, 2007). Others have applied the theory of planned behavior (Heirman & Walrave, 2012), the routine activities theory (Navarro & Jasinski, 2012), and online disinhibition (Udris, 2014) as possible predictors of cyberbullying. Internet addiction (Chang et al., 2014), school violence and alcohol and drug use have also been associated with cyberbullying (Pelfrey & Weber, 2013).

Cyberbullying in Japan

Research on cyberbullying in Japan is still in its infancy. Most of the small body of research has dealt only with frequencies and basic questions. A study of 2,599 elementary school children in the Kyoto area revealed that 12.5% (14.5% for females; 11.3% for males) had experienced cybervictimization, while 10.6% (12.8% for females; 8.4% for males) admitted to cyberbullying others. The difference in cyberbullying and cybervictimization frequencies between genders was statistically significant (Hara, 2011). A survey at nine junior high schools in Japan by Terado, Nagaura, and Tominaga (2010) found that of 5,357 students surveyed (51% male, 47.4% female, 1.6% unknown) 8.66% were engaged in cyberbullying others. Interestingly, female perpetrators outnumbered males by 10.9% to 6.4% in this sample. The researchers argued that cyberbullying is less direct and physical than traditional bullying and thus more females might engage in it compared to males. …

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