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Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | June 2010 RESEARCH 50 found that 27 per cent of victims had bullied others, including nine per cent who had used both online and traditional methods, with no signifcant differences found between genders. Findings relating to the use of coping strategies and their reported effectiveness are detailed in Tables 1 to 3. Results show that across their lifetime most participants had tried a number of strategies. Table percentages total more than 100 per cent due to multiple responses per question. The key coping strategies, in order of prevalence, are speaking out; ignoring; avoiding; being positive; and retaliating. The impact of cyberbullying Of the 86 per cent who reported some effect, the most common areas of adverse impact include a drop in self-confdence – 78 per cent, reduced self-esteem – 70 per cent, and broken friendships – 42 per cent. Notably, 35 per cent reported a negative effect on their school grades, 28 per cent on their school attendance and 19 per cent on their family relationships. Many participants also reported multiple emotional impacts, with 75 per cent reporting feeling sad, including 54 per cent reporting extreme sadness; 72 per cent reporting annoyance, including 52 per cent reporting anger; and 48 per cent reporting feeling afraid, including 29 per cent who reported feeling terrifed. Three per cent also reported having suicidal thoughts, while two per cent claimed they engaged in self-harming behaviour as a result of cyberbullying. Some conclusions The fnding that cyberbullying most commonly occurs within the transitional years between primary and secondary school is table 3 Extent to which online strategies were considered helpful by participants interesting. While the majority of the sample came from the 10- to 14-years age band, reports from older participants still support this claim. It’s a fnding that educators in schools would do well to recognise in order to provide support and guidance during these critical years. Our research further confrms that young people are often not exclusively classifable as bully or victim. Rather, at various times they may be bullied, be the bully or act as a bystander to bullying. Given such strong inter-relatedness between the various forms of bullying and also the dynamics between the role of bully and victim, school and government interventions need to focus not only on cybersafety but also on the quality of peer relationships. One of the challenges in providing support is the fact that only a minority of victims