Students’ Perspectives on Cyber Bullying
The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the impact of cyber bullying on students and the possible need for prevention messages targeting students, educators, and parents. A total of 148 middle and high school students were interviewed during focus groups held at two middle and two high schools in a public school district. The focus groups were approximately 45 minutes in length. Students were divided by gender and asked a series of scripted questions by a same-gender student assistance counselor. We found that students’ comments during the focus groups suggest that students—particularly females—view cyber bullying as a problem, but one rarely discussed at school, and that students do not see the school district personnel
as helpful resources when dealing with cyber bullying. Students are currently experiencing the majority of cyber bullying instances outside of the school day; however there is some impact at school. Students were able to suggest some basic strategies for dealing with cyber bullying, but were less likely to be aware of strategies to request the removal of objectionable websites, as well as how to respond as a helpful bystander when witnessing cruel online behavior. We conclude that school districts should address cyber bullying through a combination of policies and information that are shared with students and parents. Schools should include cyber bullying as part of their bullying prevention strategies and include classroom lessons that address reporting and bystander behavior.