Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Peter Jaffe

Abstract

Abstract

Electronic communication and social media have dramatically changed the way in which individuals communicate with one another. Through this shift, they have opened the doors for inappropriate and damaging behaviour to take place. Cyberbullying occurs when the internet is continuously used to insult or intimidate a person or persons in order to hurt them in a deliberate manner (Valkenburg et. al., 2010). In adolescent dating relationships, the online environment facilitates the way in which individuals who are or were dating continue to correspond. This closer proximity between individuals, however, enables abusive and controlling behaviours within these relationships to occur outside of face-to-face contact. This study examined adolescents’ perceptions of the severity of cyberbullying, motives, and the point in a dating relationship at which it is likely to become most severe. A mixed methodology was utilized within this study, using a sample of 70 grade 12 students at a high school in southwestern Ontario. It was found that cyberbullying behaviours are most likely to occur upon termination of a dating relationship, revenge is perceived as a common motive, and the severity of cyberbullying tends to be minimized.

Keywords: Cyberbullying, bullying, gender, grade, age, violence, dating, adolescent, mixed-methods, focus groups


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