Effectiveness of Cyber Bullying Prevention Strategies: A Study on Students' Perspectives

By Kraft, Ellen M.; Wang, Jinchang | International Journal of Cyber Criminology, July-December 2009 | Go to article overview

Effectiveness of Cyber Bullying Prevention Strategies: A Study on Students' Perspectives


Kraft, Ellen M., Wang, Jinchang, International Journal of Cyber Criminology


Introduction

Technology has led to a new form of bullying in the 21st century called cyber bullying Belsey, 2006; Beran & Li, 2005; Patchin & Hinduja, 2006; Shariff & Hoff, 2007). The increase in the prevalence of cyber bullying in 2005 from 2000 (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2007) and cases appearing in courts (Layshock v. Hermitage School District, 2006; Associated Press, 2005) show that schools are not well equipped to deal with cyber bullying issues. Most harmful incidents of cyber bullying occur off campus (Willard, 2008) making it extremely difficult for public schools to discipline a student without crossing the line for their free speech rights (Willard, 2007b). Developing cyber bullying prevention strategies is a challenge for schools. The strategies that adults may perceive to be effective for stopping and preventing cyber bullying may not be the same as the strategies students perceive to be effective.

Furthermore, within the peer group students' bully as means of gaining and maintaining power over a victim (Vaillancourt, Hymel, & McDougall, 2003). Students are not necessarily classified as either bullies or victims. They can be classified as both bullies and victims (Espelage & Swearer, 2003). Victims of bullying may bully younger children (Beran & Li, 2007; Willard, 2007b) or retaliate by bullying online (Beran & Li, 2007; Juvonen & Gross, 2008; Hinduja & Patchin, 2009; Shariff, 2008; Willard, 2007b). Some students are not involved in bullying or cyber bullying (Beran & Li, 2007). For this research, participants were grouped into four categories based on their role in cyber bullying as a pure-offender, pure-victim, both-offender-and-victim, or neither-offendernor- victim.

In this research we surveyed 713 students to determine:

1. Which strategies are considered most effective from the students' point of view, for all as a whole and for each of the four categories of students? If we were to pick five strategies to adopt based on the data, which would they be?

2. Are there statistically significant differences among the four categories of students in their views on the effectiveness of each of the 14 cyber bullying prevention strategies? If so, how do the four categories correlate to the views of effectiveness of the strategies?

The Growing Problem of Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying is a problem that exists worldwide among youth today (Kraft, 2006; Shariff, 2008). As a result of this problem some teenagers harassed by cyber bullying are suffering from depression, having their education compromised, and committing suicide (Patchin & Hinduja, 2006; Shariff, 2008). Patchin and Hinduja studied 1,500 adolescents and found that 33% of the respondents were victims of cyber bullying (Patchin, 2006). In a February 2007 survey of 832 teenagers the National Crime Prevention Council reported that 43% of teens ages 13-17 had experienced cyber bullying (Moessner, 2007). The demographic group with the highest percentage reporting they experienced cyber bullying was 15 to 16 year old girls (Moessner, 2007). A University of New Hampshire study showed an increase in the prevalence of cyber bullying in 2005 from 2000 (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2007). Two-thirds of the teens surveyed in a May 2009 survey thought cyber bullying was a serious problem (Thomas, 2009).

Relationship of Bullying and Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying and bullying are often interrelated (Beran & Li, 2007; Willard, 2007b.) A student who is being bullied at school may be bullied online (Beran & Li, 2007; Willard, 2007b). A study by Beran and Li (2007) showed that more than one-third of the participants, ages 12-15, who were bullied online were also bullied in school (Beran & Li, 2007). According to research by Patchin & Hinduja (2009) and Juvonen & Gross (2008) there is a significant relationship "between bullying and retaliation online and at school" (Szoka &Thierer, 2009, p. …

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