Cyber-bullying: The irish experience
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© 2010 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Good indications as to the incidence rates concerning bullying, aggressive behaviour and violence in schools have been developed both in Ireland (Minton & O’ Moore, 2008; O’ Moore, Kirkham & Smith, 1997; O’ Moore & Minton, 2003) and internationally (see Smith, 2003; Smith et al., 1999, for reviews). However, very few empirically-based surveys of cyber-bullying (Li, 2006; Smith et al., 2006; Vandebosch et al., 2006) have been conducted (Minton, 2008). The present chapter will report on a study of 2, 794 students from eight post-primary schools in the Republic of Ireland (the entire student body of the first, second, third and fourth years - ca. 12 - 16 years of age) who completed a specially-designed 38-item questionnaire, administered according to standardised instructions by class teachers in normal school time. Across the sample, around one in seven students reported having been cyber-bullied over the past couple of months, and around one in eleven reported having taken part in the cyber-bullying of others at school within the past couple of months. Incidence rates of having been subjected to and having perpetrated sub-categories of cyber-bullying were also obtained (text message bullying, the sending of pictures and video clips via mobile telephones, threatening calls, e-mails, Instant Messages, and abuse via the Internet (social networking sites and chat rooms) were also obtained. In many sub-categories of cyber-abuse (see below) the incidence rates were slightly higher amongst girls than they were amongst boys. A further finding was that the use of social networking Internet sites was very frequent, with over three-quarters of the sample having used Bebo and You Tube within the past couple of months. Few people who had been cyber-bullied (about 6 per cent) reported it to adults at school; they were over twice as likely to do nothing at all, five times more likely to send an angry message back, and five times more likely to talk to a friend. The findings confirm that the incidence of cyber-bullying amongst post-primary students in schools in Ireland is significant, and that its seriousness as an issue should not be underestimated.
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