Occurrence of Cyberbullying in Slovenian Schools and the Need for Communication

Occurrence of Cyberbullying in Slovenian Schools and the Need for Communication

Miha Dvojmoč, Teja Lobnikar, Valentina Kubale
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5760-3.ch005
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The influence of cyberspace and information technology is in most cases positive, as it increases performance at the workplace or in the educational process. Unfortunately, cyberspace also presents various dangers. It is noted that cyberspace is becoming the most common environment for cyberbullying. Especially in recent years, there are more reports of violent incidents in schools in Slovenia as well. The authors found that cyberbullying is present among schoolchildren in Slovenia; 13.55% of students have already heard offensive words through telecommunication devices, while 10.16% have been victims of online rumours; 0.74 2.65% of respondents estimated that they are victims of cyberbullying every week. Peer-to-peer violence in Slovenia continues to develop and adapt to the way of life and technological development, which is why it is necessary to develop different ways and methods of treatment and prevention. With appropriate communication of all the parties involved, we can reduce the occurrence of peer violence and thereby also increase safety in educational institutions.
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Peer Violence In The School Environment

Violence is an act of physical force that causes or has the intention of causing harm and can be perpetrated by individuals of any age (Lopez et al., 2022). Thus violence is a phenomenon that occurs in all age groups, among children, adolescents, and even adults (Lopez et al., 2022). It has negative consequences and effects on the victim and also on those who witnessed it, children being a group even more vulnerable to harm (Jacquin, n. d.). When we talk about violence in schools, we are referring primarily to violence between peers. As with the general definition of violence, there are many different definitions of peer violence (Primc et al., 2021). Peer violence is defined as the intentional use of physical, verbal, or sexual abuse or cyberbullying. In most cases, the acts are repeated or take place over a long period of time, and the victim is a peer who is in a significantly inferior, weaker position than the perpetrator (Košir, 2022). Peer violence is also defined in the literature as repeated behaviour designed to affect someone, especially emotionally, and is often intentional (Eksi & Turk-Kurtca, 2021; Bae, 2021). We divide it into indirect violence, which includes spreading rumours, excluding people from groups, etc., and direct violence, which includes physical violence, threats, teasing and etc. It can also be defined as a form of aggressive behaviour where power is not distributed proportionally, as the perpetrator has significantly more power than his or her victim (Belošević et al., 2021).

Bullying in schools is one of the most visible forms of violence against children or adolescents. Different forms of peer violence in schools are also distinguished. There are physical, psychological, and sexual violence and bullying (Gupta, 2022). Physical violence is mainly characterized by kicking, pushing, damaging other people's property, and the like. Relative or relational violence is characterized primarily by the manipulation of personal relationships. Verbal violence manifests itself mainly in the form of teasing. Cyberbullying involves the spreading of untruths, rumours, and sending inappropriate or offensive messages via technological devices. Physical, interpersonal, and verbal violence can be grouped into one category called traditional forms of peer violence, while cyberbullying is a separate category (Pečjak et al., 2021; Bellmore et al., 2016). Especially in recent years, the development and increasing use of information and communication technologies, has created a new environment for the implementation of peer violence. As a result, the above-mentioned cyberbullying has developed, which is mainly characterized by the fact that physical and social powers do not play a role and do matter. For victims, this type of violence is often the worst, as they cannot withdraw and protect themselves from it (Šulc and Bučar-Ručman, 2019). A review of the literature shows that there are many definitions of cyberbullying but it is generally accepted that it is a form of bullying that uses technology to achieve its goal (Wang and Sek-yum Ngai, 2021; De Pasquake et al., 2021; Margitics et al., 2020). Cyberbullying can be occur through the use of various digital devices but the with cell phones, computers, and tablets being the most common. Bullying and defamation on social networks are currently very common (Margitics et al., 2020).

In summary, we can define violence in the school environment as an undesirable phenomenon when one or more students consciously, repeatedly, and intentionally harm another student or group of students. This can occur in a variety of ways, including verbal abuse (e.g., teasing, insulting, shaming), physical abuse (e. g. hitting, pushing, kicking), social abuse (e.g., exclusion, spreading rumours), psychological abuse (e.g., threats, intimidation), and cyberbullying (e.g., social media harassment, electronic stalking).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Slovenia: Small county in Central Europe.

Cyberbullying: It is a form of bullying that uses technology to achieve its goal.

Safety: It is the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk.

School Environment: It is a combination of physical, social, and learning environments an it refers to the set of facilities that the school provides.

Peer Violence: It is an intentional and repeated aggressive behavior, that can occur through physical, verbal, and relational forms in situations where there is a power imbalance among peers.

Security: It is the state of being free of danger.

Bullying: It is repeated aggressive behavior where one person (or group of people) in a position of power deliberately intimidates, abuses, or coerces an individual with the intention to hurt that person physically or emotionally.

Communication: It is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

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