Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Peter Jaffe

Abstract

This study investigated gender differences in cyberbullying and the relationship between perpetrators and victims and asked the following research questions: Are there differences in who engages in cyberbullying more often, based on one’s gender? Are there differences in perceptions of reporting, when a cyberbully is a friend or stranger? Why or why not, would adolescents report one source over the other? Data was collected from 70 students, ages 16 to 18-years-old (42 females, 28 males), in a public secondary school in Southwestern Ontario. A mixed methodology was utilized. Quantitative data from the Cyberbullying Student Survey was analyzed, and qualitative data from the semi-structured focus groups was collected to obtain a better understanding of the phenomenon. Results indicate that males perceived that females use cyberbullying more often. Females however, held the belief that males and females cyberbully equally, or that cyberbullies are mostly female. Frequency counts suggest that adolescents are equally likely to report and not report cyberbullying by a friend. However, 61% of the sample indicated reporting cyberbullying if the perpetrator is a stranger. Participants also indicated that they were more likely to report cyberbullying behaviours of strangers, than of their friends, due to the fear of retaliation from their friends. Furthermore, among females revenge was perceived as the most common motive to engage in cyberbullying. Implications for students, parents, and school officials regarding prevention are discussed.


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