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Electronic Bullying Among Middle School Students | Print |  E-mail
Behaviour and Mental Health Problems - Bullying and Teasing
In Short…

Electronic or “cyber bullying” is a problem for preteens and teenagers. Children as young as 11 or 12 are bullying others or are being victimized using electronic devices. Girls were more likely to be victimized but were also more likely to engage in electronic bullying than were boys. Parents, teachers and others involved with children need to step in to help stop electronic bullying. Schools can limit access to the devices during school, parents can state expectations for their child’s behavior online and monitor their activity. Anti-bullying programs may need to be updated to include electronic bullying.

The Issue: Preteens and teens are increasingly using Internet-based communication devices to keep in touch with their peers.  While text messaging, emailing, use of web sites and chat rooms, and talk over cell phones by these age groups is usually benign, these devices can provide the opportunity to spread gossip, harass, and even to threaten others.

The Research: This was a study of 3,767 children in Grades 6, 7, and 8 at six elementary and middle schools in the United States.  The Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire and the Electronic Bullying Questionnaire, developed for this study, were given to the students. The questionnaires asked middle school aged children about their experiences of bullying others or being victimized, or both.

The Results: Overall, 11% of the study participants said that they had been bullied at least once during the previous two months. This occured most frequently through text messaging, followed by chat rooms, e-mail, and Web sites.  Grade 8 children were the most likely to engage in electronic bullying and the most likely to be victims of that kind of bullying. A quarter of the girls reported being victims of electronic bullying in the previous two-month period, but were also more likely to engage in electronic bullying than boys.

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The preceding is a summary of: Kowalski RM, Limber SP. Electronic Bullying Among Middle School Students. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41: S22-S30.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 13:04