Cyberbullying and the bystander: What promotes or inhibits adolescent participation?
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Study One Study One aims to better understand the roles that adolescents take during cyberbullying situations exploring the influence of attitudes towards cyberbullying, social grouping (being alone or with others), age and gender. Methods: Focus groups were used to adapt the Participant Role Scales (Salmivalli, 1998) and the Pro Victim Scale (Rigby & Slee, 1991) to explore cyberbullying. These adapted measures were completed by 261 participants across four year groups (year 7 to 10) via self report questionnaires. Results: Across social groupings an average of 73% of adolescents took participant roles in cyberbullying situations. There were significant differences between assistant, defender, outsider and victim behaviour when alone or when physically with others. In addition attitude towards cyberbullying significantly influenced the role taken and females were more likely to be defenders than males. Age significantly influenced outsider behaviour when participants were alone and defender behaviour when participants were physically with others. Study Two Study Two aims to better understand what promotes or inhibits bystander involvement in cyberbullying situations. Methods: The study adopted an explorative approach to understand the experiences of 28 adolescents in a South West Local Authority in England. Data was collected via a semi-structured interview schedule administered in focus groups. Findings were analysed using latent thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Results: The decision for adolescent bystanders to actively join a cyberbullying situation was found to be complex. CMC, social influence (prior relationship, being alone or with others) and popularity and status of those participating in cyberbullying contribute to bystanders’ assessment of the risk and reward of participation. If reward outweighs risk an active role is taken (assistant, reinforcer, defender). However if risks are perceived to be higher than rewards then an outsider role is adopted.
DEdPsy in Educational Child and Community Psychology