Monday, April 30, 2012

UBC Cyberbullying Study

A graph showing where electronic aggression oc...
A graph showing where electronic aggression occurs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A new cyberbullying study out of the University of British Columbia (UBC) suggests that the three characteristics of traditional "schoolyard" bullying (power differential between bully and victim, a proactive targeting of a victim, and ongoing aggression) aren't always present in the increasingly more common cyberbullying.
...research is beginning to show that cyberbullying does not necessarily involve these three characteristics. Traditional power differentials – size and popularity – do not necessarily apply online. There also seems to be more fluid delineation between the roles youth play; it is not unusual for an individual to act in all capacities – bullies, victims, and witnesses – online. 
Previous work...has shown that in contrast to traditional bullying, cyberbullying is rarely associated with planned targeting of a victim.
And while cyberbullying is now becoming the main avenue of experience for bullies and their victims - "Results of the studies show that about 25-30 per cent of youth report that they have experienced or taken part in cyberbullying, compared to 12 per cent of youth who say they’ve experienced or taken part in schoolyard bullying" - most youth consider what happens online was intended as a joke.

The study (which involved 17,000 Vancouver, B.C. students in Grades 8 to 12 and a follow-up study involving 733 Vancouver, B.C. youth aged 10-18) suggests that anti-bullying programs need specific interventions to target online aggression if the current attitude toward cyberbullying is to change.