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Cyberbullying Prevention

A new dimension in anti-social behavior among students has emerged as technology has created new forms of peer harassment. The rise of social media and the ubiquity of the Internet have enabled bullying behaviors to manifest in many forms online. Cyberbullying is unique from traditional bullying behavior in that the Internet allows for anonymous interaction. Anonymity lets students bully and reach a large audience without the threat of identification or adult intervention.[1]

Most instances of cyberbullying go unreported; only in extreme cases involving suicide, rape or major injury are assailants identified. Students are unwilling to report cyberbullying because they fear losing access to the technology or retaliation.[2] Victims of both traditional bullying and cyberbullying are at greatest risk. [3] [4] They are likely to experience reduced academic performance and self-esteem, family disengagement, risky Internet usage, video game dependency, substance use, obesity, petty crime, gang activities, depression, self-harming, suicide and bringing weapons to school.[5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

Further complicating the issue is that traditional bullying programs rely on incident reporting to be effective. These programs are not effective for cyberbullying, since most instances go unreported. To fill this gap, some researchers have proposed prevention methodologies that delineate cyberbullying from traditional bullying in prevention curricula.[13] [14] However, while it remains important to investigate prevalence and risk factors associated with cyberbullying, the differentiation of cyberbullying from traditional bullying is not appropriate or necessary for prevention efforts. [15] Both forms of bullying are a result of poor peer relationships and anti-social behavior, and distinguishing between the two forms dilutes the overall prevention message.

Research also indicates that reactive interventions that block access to certain technologies, or advocate policies designed to monitor student behavior, are not effective.[16] [17] Students are immersed in communication technologies; we have entered an era of hyper-personal communication.[18]

Cyberbullying is a serious problem that cannot be solved by downloading an app. The manifestation of anti-social behavior must be addressed with a contextually appropriate message. While research is continuing, social scientists are nearly unanimous in their conclusions: Cyberbullying requires a comprehensive, preventive effort that addresses the underlying problem behaviors, emphasizes healthy communication habits, and promotes positive peer relations.[19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]

The Positive Action model is uniquely suited to address the underlying behaviors that are responsible for cyberbullying. The program helps students develop healthy peer relationships and encourages positive interpersonal communication. In Unit 4, students learn the importance of treating others as they would want to be treated. This message is universally applicable, regardless of the communication medium.

Click here for an overview on bullying prevention.

Click here to review the bullying research outcomes.

Click here for an overview on discipline.

References:
1. Mason, K. L. Cyberbullying: A preliminary assessment for school personnel. Psychology in the Schools. 2008; 45(4), 323-348. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pits.20301/abstract
2. Ybarra, M. L., Mitchell, K. J. Prevalence and Frequency of Internet Harassment Instigation: Implications for Adolescent Health. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41(2), 189-195. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900136-X/abstract
3. Holt, M. K., Finkelhor, D., Kantor, G. K. Multiple victimization experiences of urban elementary school students: Associations with psychosocial functioning and academic performance. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2007; 31(5), 503-515. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213407000877
4. Ybarra, M. L., Deiner-West, M., Leaf, P. J. Examining the Overlap in Internet Harassment and School Bullying: Implications for School Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41, S42-50. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900369-2/abstract
5. Gini, G., Pozzoli, T. Association Between Bullying and Psychosomatic Problems: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2009; 123(3), 1059-1065. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/123/3/1059
6. Grüsser, S. M., Thalemann, R., Griffiths, M. D. Excessive Computer Game Playing: Evidence for Addiction and Aggression? CyberPsychology & Behavior. 2006; 10(2), 290-292. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17474848
7. King, J. E., Walpole, C. E., Lamon, K. Surf and Turf Wars Online: Growing Implications of Internet Gang Violence. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41, S66-S68. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900366-7/abstract
8. Mitchell, K. J., Ybarra, M. L. Online behavior of youth who engage in self-harm provides clues for preventive intervention. Preventive Medicine. 2007; 45(5), 392-396. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743507001958
9. Rehbein, F., Kleimann, M., Moßle, T. Prevalence and Risk Factors of Video Game Dependency in Adolescence: Results of a German Nationwide Survey. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 2010; 13(3), 269-277. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2009.0227
10. Wolak, J. D., Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D. Does Online Harassment Constitute Bullying?. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41(6), S51-S58. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900363-1/abstract
11. Ybarra, M. L. Linkages between Depressive Symptomatology and Internet Harassment among Young Regular Internet Users. CyberPsychology & Behavior. 2004; 7(2), 247-257. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/109493104323024500
12. Ybarra, M. L., Mitchell, K. J. Youth engaging in online harassment: associations with caregiver-child relationships, Internet use, and personal characteristics. Journal of Adolescence. 2004; 27, 319-336. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140197104000399
13. Twyman, K., Saylor, C., Taylor, L.A., Comeaux, C. Comparing Children and Adolescents Engaged in Cyberbullying to Matched Peers. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 2010; 13(2), 195-199. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2009.0137
14. Wolak, J. D., Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D. Does Online Harassment Constitute Bullying?. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41(6), S51-S58. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900363-1/abstract
15. Raskaukas, J., Stoltz, A. D. Involvement in Traditional and Electronic Bullying Among Adolescents. Developmental Psychology. 2007; 43(3), 564-575. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/dev/43/3/564/
16. Robinson, K. School Counselor's perceptions of Cyberbullying. Dissertation. 2010. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED523565
17. Twyman, K., Saylor, C., Taylor, L.A., Comeaux, C. Comparing Children and Adolescents Engaged in Cyberbullying to Matched Peers. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 2010; 13(2), 195-199. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2009.0137
18. Henderson, S., Gilding, M. I’ve never clicked this much with anyone in my life: trust and hypersonal communication in online friendships. New Media & Society. 2004; 6(4), 487-506. http://nms.sagepub.com/content/6/4/487.short
19. Agatston, P. W. Students' Perspectives on Cyber Bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41(6), S59-S60. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900368-0/abstract
20. Beran, T., Li, Q. The Relationship between Cyberbullying and School Bullying. Journal of Student Wellbeing. 2007; 1(2), 15-33. http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/JSW/article/view/172
21. Bhat, C. S. Cyber Bullying: Overview and Strategies for School Counsellors, Guidance Officers, and All School Personnel. Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling. 2008; 18(1), 53-66. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8497615
22. Diamanduros, T., Downs, E., Jenkins, S. J. The role of school psychologists in the assessment, prevention, and intervention of cyberbullying. Psychology in the Schools. 2008; 45(8), 693-704. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pits.20335/abstract
23. Froeschle, J. G., Mayorga, M., Castillo, Y., Hargrave, T. Teaching with Technology: A Necessity with a Downside. Strategies to Prevent and Heal the Mental Anguish Caused by Cyberbullying. Middle School Journal. 2008; March.
24. Froeschle, J. G., Mayorga, M., Castillo, Y., Hargrave, T. Teaching with Technology: A Necessity with a Downside. Strategies to Prevent and Heal the Mental Anguish Caused by Cyberbullying. Middle School Journal. 2008; March. http://www.amle.org/ServicesEvents/MiddleSchoolJournal/tabid/175/Default.aspx
25. Hinduja, S., Patchin, J. W. Cyberbullying: An Exploratory Analysis of Factors Related to Offending and Victimization. Deviant Behavior. 2008; 29(2), 129-156. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01639620701457816#.U058zFfvzhA
26. Juvonen, J., Gross, E. F. Extending the School Grounds? Bullying Experiences in Cyberspace. Journal of School Health. 2008; 78(9), 496-505. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2008.00335.x/abstract
27. Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P. Electronic bullying among middle school students. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41(6, Supplemental 1), S22-30. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900361-8/abstract
28. Robinson, K. School Counselor's perceptions of Cyberbullying. Dissertation. 2010. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED523565
29. Sourander, A., Helstelä, L., Helenius, H., Piha, J. Persistence of bullying from childhood to adolescence: A longitudinal 8-year follow-up study. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2000; 24(7), 873-881. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213400001460
30. Vandebosch, H., Cleemput, K. V. Cyberbullying among youngsters: profiles of bullies and victims. New Media & Society. 2009; 11(8), 1349-1371. http://nms.sagepub.com/content/11/8/1349.abstract
31. Williams, K. R., Guerra, N. G. Prevalence and Predictors of Internet Bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41, S14-S21. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900362-X/abstract
32. Wolak, J. D., Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D. Does Online Harassment Constitute Bullying?. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41(6), S51-S58. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2807%2900363-1/abstract