Common facts and themes
Bullying begins in elementary school, peaks in middle school and begins to dissipate
throughout high school. Cyberbullying, however, begins and peaks in middle school and
then remains constant throughout high school. (Li 2008, Englander 2012, Slovak &
“A study of 21,000 Massachusetts schoolchildren between October 2010 and
February 2011 found that about one fourth of middle- and high-schoolers reported
being physically bullied, and more than double that number reported being
taunted or called a name.” (Englander, 2012).
Cyberbullying is defined as: the use of electronic devices, computers, cell phones etc.,
with the intention to bully or cause harm to others. (Li 2008, Haymann & Schnackenberg
2011, Slovak & Singer 2011).
Other terms for cyberbullying include “online bullying,” “online harassment,” and
“electronic bullying.” It can include online fighting, harassment, stalking,
impersonation, outing, trickery, exclusion, and more. (Slovak & Singer, 2011).
Bullying is a repeated negative action towards someone with the intention to harm them
in some way. There is usually a power imbalance between the perpetrator and victim. (Li
2008, Englander 2012).
There are many links between the victim and offender of cyberbullying. It is suggested
that both are more likely to have mental health issues, anxiety, depression, low self-
esteem, social problems, fear, stress and psychological issues (Haymann &
Schnackenberg 2011, Slovak & Singer (2011).
The most common ways people were cyberbullied were e-mail, chat-rooms, cell phones
etc and often multiple sources were used (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Li 2008)
Males are more likely to be cyberbullies than females and females are more likely to be
victims (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Slovak & Singer 2011).
However, girls report a significantly higher rate of lifetime victimization and
perpetration of cyberbullying (Slovak & Singer 2011).
Very few victims of cyberbullying actually report cyberbullying to a teacher or person of
authority (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Li 2008)
Cyberbullying is becoming an increasing issue; especially in our increasingly
technological age (Englander 2012, Slovak & Singer 2011, Li 2008).
“Cyber immersion refers to the utilization of cyber technology and the Internet as
a central, rather than as an adjunct, element of daily life….. cyber immersion
(using the Internet as a primary or central method of communication, commerce,
relationships, and recreation)” pg 44 (Englander 2012).
Cyberbullying is an opportunistic crime, is often anonymous, can occur anytime and
anywhere and often occurs outside of school (Englander 2012, Slovak & Singer 2011, Li
The literature is inconsistent in reporting the prevalence of cyberbullying among students.
One source reports approximately 32% of adolescents who use the internet have been
cyberbullied (Englander 2012), another reports 45% of kids at Robert J Mitchell
junior/senior high school were victims (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011), another
reports 29% of youth (Slovak & Singer 2011) and the last reports that the literature shows that 15-25% of adolescents have been a victim of cyberbullying except that their study at
a school reported the prevalence in Canadian students to be 25% (Li 2008).
The number of self-admitted cyberbullies was reported as 20% (Englander 2012),
whereas another study said the literature shows 5-10% admit to engaging in
cyberbullying but their study shown that 15% of Canadian students admit to it (Li 2008)
One study reported that 73% students had witnessed cyberbullying (Englander 2012),
another study reported that 54% students had heard someone cyberbullying someone else
Theme: What is currently wrong in the school system in regards to cyberbullying
Mediation is often used in many US schools to reduce conflict among students. However,
mediation assumes children are equal whereas bullying often involves power imbalances.
Bullies are often good at charming during mediation too. Pg 48 (Englander 2012)
Often victims will not fully participate in mediation due to fear of retribution. Pg 49
Teachers are over-worked, too busy, to get deeply involved in cyberbullying or even
bullying cases and do not have the capacity or time to understand what to do in
cyberbullying cases (Englander 2012).
There are no clear cut rules on how to deal with cyberbullying cases, who should be
punished and what the punishment should be (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011).
There are restrictions based on privacy policies and free speech especially if the
cyberbullying occurs outside of school, where it most often does. Pg 7 (Slovak & Singer
School Social Workers responses. Of those schools that had a cyberbullying policy (35%)
only 68% of SSW’s said it was effective. Pg 9 About half said cyberbullying was an issue
at their school, 40% says it occurs outside of school, only 44% said they feel able to deal
with cyberbullying issues, half said it was not being addressed at their school and that
believed it did not happen as much as traditional bullying. Pg 10 (Slovak & Singer 2011)
93% said that they thought cyberbullying was an issue that School Social Worker’s
should deal with but weren’t sure about their ability to deal with it. Pg 12 (Slovak &
Most School Social Worker’s weren’t aware that students were posting things about
teachers and staff and were not aware of certain websites such as pro-suicide websites. Pg
12 (Slovak & Singer 2011)
Most SSW’s said they were unsure of how to respond to cyberbullying and that school
policies were not helpful in dealing with cyberbullying cases. Pg 13 (Slovak & Singer
“In Western societies teachers and students may have relatively informal relationships,
and teachers are often concerned to empower students and promote students’
independence.” In China they have almost parental relationships with teachers and
teachers have more authoritative power over students. Pg 231 (Li 2008)
Theme: What should be done to improve cyberbullying rates in schools
Current study suggests training and clear practical guidelines for SSW’s and all members
of the school to follow pg 13 (Slovak & Singer 2011) Steps to be taken in cyberbully