Beyond the School Gates: Experiences of Cyberaggression and Cyberbullying Among Adolescents in the U.K.

Popovac, Maša (2017) Beyond the School Gates: Experiences of Cyberaggression and Cyberbullying Among Adolescents in the U.K. Technical Report. University of Buckingham, Buckingham.


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The use of digital technology has increased considerably since the late 1990’s and for young people in particular digital platforms are an integral part of their lives. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have a range of important benefits for children and adolescents, but children can also encounter a range of online risks that can have serious effects on their well-being and development. An increasing amount of research is being carried out into young people’s experiences of cyberaggression and cyberbullying, which have been found to have serious psychological, emotional, behavioural and educational effects. This is an issue that not only impacts the individuals involved, but also has serious implications in relation to school safety and the school social climate. This report outlines a study conducted by the University of Buckingham and Sir John Cass’s Foundation, that examined the online behaviours and experiences of 320 adolescents aged 13-18 years as well as the perceptions of 130 parents. The findings showed that adolescents had a high level of access to ICTs and engaged in a number of online activities which were mainly social in nature. Most adolescents in the sample (69%) had experienced at least one type of cyberaggression, which was most likely to involve being called a hurtful name online, having a picture posted online to embarrass them, or having rumours or gossip spread about them online. Of these adolescents, 43% reported that they had been cyberbullied. These findings are towards the high end of those reported in other studies globally. In addition to victimisation, nearly half of adolescents (48%) admitted perpetrating an act of cyberaggression and most adolescents (77%) had witnessed cyberbullying while online. The findings show the complexity of cyberbullying acts and the need to address the multiple roles associated with these behaviours. When asked about their experiences in the past 12 months, a quarter of adolescents reported that they had been cyberbullied during this time. Although face-to-face bullying continues to be the most common form of bullying experienced by young people, experiences of cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying were often linked. Adolescents reported serious emotional effects due to these experiences. Our findings also indicated that adolescents were most likely to confide in friends about these experiences rather than adults and that parents and teachers were largely removed from young people’s online experiences. This was clear from the data obtained from parents, which showed that they significantly underestimated their child’s experiences and engagement in cyberaggression and overestimated their monitoring of ICT use in the home. The findings in this report reflect the importance of working with adolescents to build digital literacy, empathy and resilience as well as the importance of including parents in online safety efforts. Importantly, the report advocates a multi-level approach to addressing the issue of cyberaggression and cyberbullying and highlights the need for action by government, external support services, funding bodies and organisations, schools and teachers as well as parents and young people. A comprehensive approach to tackling cyberaggression and cyberbullying and enhancing online safety of young people is needed, which would include effort at all levels. The report outlines key recommendations for involvement at each level in an effort to drive forward an impactful response to this important issue.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cyberbullying; cyberaggression; adolescents
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Masa Popovac
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2017 13:45
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2017 13:45

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