Cyberbullying creates fear among students about being victimized at school (research)

Cyberbullying seems to be on the rise(in the UK that is), so this new research is extra important. While traditional bullying still creates the most fear among students, cyberbullying is a significant factor for fear of victimization at school among students who have experienced bullying or disorder At school, such as the presence of gangs. The fear from cyberbullying is most prominent in minority populations.

From the press release:

“It cannot be overstated – online victimization has offline consequences, and those consequences may have a number of negative effects for students, including fear of victimization,” said Ryan Randa, Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice.

Cybercrime is any behavior performed through digital or electronic media by individuals or groups that repeatedly communicate hostile or aggressive messages intended to inflict harm or discomfort on others. Studies have shown that bullying and cyberbullying may lead to such consequences for victims as decreased academic performance, diminished perceptions of safety, depression, anxiety, reduced self-esteem, self-harm, emotional distress and suicidal ideation.

The study was based on a survey of more than 3,500 students from ages 12-18 from across the nation. The students were asked questions about bullying and cyberbullying, including whether hurtful information about them were posted on the internet or if they had been insulted or threated by email, instant messaging, text messaging or online gaming programs. The students were also asked if they had been excluded from online friends or buddy lists.

About 7 percent of the students in the survey said they had experienced cyberbullying, while 29 percent said they were the victims of traditional bullying.

Abstract of the research:

Using a nationally representative sample of over 3500 students aged 12–18 years, the present study examines the relationship between cyberbullying and fear of victimization through a five-stage analysis. The analyses conducted address two primary research questions. First, whether or not cyberbullying victimization has a direct relationship to fear of victimization, net of the effects of traditionally important controls. Second, in further exploration of the cyberbullying – fear relationship – what other factors still have a direct relationship to fear of victimization among those students experiencing cyberbullying. Logistic regression modeling of the relationship finds that cyberbullying victimization does produce a positive and significant linkage to fear of victimization net of the effects of other past victimization experiences, and a disorderly school environment. Further analysis suggests that among those who report experiencing cyberbullying little else correlates to fear of victimization.

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