Effectiveness of Cyber Bullying Sensitization Program (CBSP) to Reduce Cyber Bullying Behavior Among Middle School Children

Effectiveness of Cyber Bullying Sensitization Program (CBSP) to Reduce Cyber Bullying Behavior Among Middle School Children

Surabhi Negi (University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India) and Sunita Magre (University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/IJCRE.2019010105


Cyber bullying is the unwise use of technology to harm and humiliate an individual or group over the Internet. The purpose of this article is to test the effectiveness of the cyber bullying sensitisation program (CBSP) to reduce the level of cyber bullying behaviour among middle school students. The sample was restricted to adolescents as they are the ones who are most exposed and vulnerable in the cyber space. A quasi-experimental pre-post design with intervention was adopted for the study. The participants of the study were comprised of 186 middle school students from two private schools in India. The experimental group had 94 participants while control groups had 92 participants. Statistical analysis indicated that there was a significant difference between pre- and post-test scores in the experimental group. No significant difference was found between the experiment and control group before the program, suggesting that the program was effective in helping students in reducing cyber bullying behaviour. The implications for prevention and intervention programs were discussed.
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In this era of technological advancement where we have been able to transcend boundaries and break barriers with the aid of the Internet, cyber safety has emerged as a major concern. Online stalking, harassment, threats, sexting (sexual texting), all in the name of cyber bullying have caught the attention of educators and policy makers.

Cyber bullying, is a term first used and defined by Canadian educator Bill Belsey around the turn of the millennium (Campbell, 2005). He defines it as ‘the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm others’ (Butler et al., 2008). Cyber bullying entails a systematic abuse of power, through information and communication technology by a cyber bully. A cyber bully is someone who uses technology to harass, embarrass, intimidate, or stalk someone else. Due to the electronic nature of cyber bullying, it has raised concerns as a victim may have a more difficult time gaining a reprieve from the cyber bully, given the fact an individual can be exposed to this form of bullying even when physically removed from the bully (Hay & Meldrum, 2009). Thus, life in cyberspace is often intertwined with life in the real world. Cyber bullying as defined above spreads like wild fire at school, as what happens during the day is discussed online at night and what takes place online at night is often discussed during the day (Patchin & Hinduja, 2006).

It is evident from researches that adolescents around the globe are experiencing cyber bullying (Martin et al., 2018; Moore et al., 2011; Smith et al., 2008). Passive viewing as a bystander, experiencing the bully or performing the act of online harassment are the ways in which adolescents participate in cyber bullying (Moore, 2012; Moore; Smith et al., 2008; Agatston et al., 2007). Bullying in cyberspace, is sometimes much more dominant than the traditional bullying that occurs in and around school, due to the Internet’s unique features (Huang & Chou, 2010). It can be more devastating than traditional forms of bullying due to the much larger audience online. Additionally, the anonymity offered by the Internet permits a bully to be even more abusive online than she/he would be in person (Strom & Strom, 2005). Several characteristics distinguish cyber bullying from other forms of traditional bullying, such as:

Table 1.
Characteristics of cyber bullying
Wide audienceThrough the circulation of video clips on the Internet, although the bully may not be aware of the audience’s reactions.
AnonymityCyber bullies are relatively protected by the anonymity of electronic forms of contact, which can safeguard them from punishment or retaliation.
Total AccessStudents who are victimized have no place to hide, and can be targeted anytime and anyplace.
Complex RolesIndividuals often play multiple roles at once, such as cyber bully, target, and observer.
Lack of immediate gratificationStudents who cyber bully do not usually see the response of the victim, changing the satisfactions or inhibitions normally generated by traditional bullying.

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