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Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | June 2010 RESEARCH 46 wider audience in which public humiliation or embarrassment can occur, and the increased level of invasiveness that is possible, in particular the ability to virtually penetrate a victim’s home. Data from Kids Helpline, a counselling service operated by BoysTown, suggest that young people affected by cyberbullying may be more likely to experience suicide ideation as a reaction to cyberbullying than those who experience traditional bullying. Much of the research literature, particularly overseas, focuses on strategies to address cyberbullying. As Campbell notes in ‘Cyberbullying: An old problem in a new guise?’ these include, for example, individual strategies to block or avoid cyberbullying messages; school strategies to restrict the use of technologies; community strategies to support service delivery; and legislative strategies to address program funding. One concerning fnding from the literature is that young people who have been cyberbullied rarely inform adults. Indeed, Juvonen and Gross found that as many as 90 per cent of victims claimed not to have told an adult. Other studies by Campbell in 2007, Debra Rickwood and colleagues, and Smith and colleagues have yielded similar fndings. Campbell, Rickwood and co, and Smith and co attribute the inhibition to fears of humiliation and embarrassment; not being believed; having their concerns trivialised; and having access to technology devices restricted. Not surprisingly, as Campbell, and Juvonen and Gross found, young people, particularly adolescent girls, are more likely to disclose their bullying concerns and seek support from a peer rather than a parent or another adult. One acknowledged beneft of cyberspace is that it provides potential cyberbullying victims with a wide suite of coping tools that are not available offine. As Juvonen and Gross point out, victims can, for example, attempt to avoid receiving messages from suspected bullies by blocking their screen names from their computer, restricting buddy lists or changing their own avatar. Research by Qing Li suggests that most young people appear to be familiar with such strategies, but whether they use them or not varies greatly, ranging up to 67 per cent depending on the particular strategy, according to Juvonen table 1 Participants’ use of coping strategies