Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society (NIBPS) Annual Conference

Leanne York (Presenter)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Description

A critical investigation of the nature and extent of cyberbullying in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland

Background
Whilst bullying has always been an issue within schools, a new form of bullying made possible by the rapid rise of communications technology has emerged in recent years – cyberbullying.

Aims
This study planned to address the following four central research questions:
1) How popular is internet technology, including social networking sites and online gaming, amongst year 9, 11 and 13 pupils?
2) What is the incidence and nature of cyberbullying in years 9, 11 and 13?
3) How are schools currently responding to the problem of cyberbullying?
4) What future support do pupils and schools need in tackling cyberbullying?

Method
A mixed methods approach was adopted. Quantitative data was collected from 425 pupils from years 9, 11 and 13 who had assented to completion of a questionnaire in two post-primary schools in Northern Ireland. Focus group interviews with pupils and interviews with the pastoral care co-ordinators of both schools provided qualitative data.

Results
This study highlighted the enormous popularity of social networking sites and online games, the latter particularly amongst boys. The study showed a lower prevalence of cyberbullying than in earlier larger studies, and a decline in the incidence among the older pupils, but there remain strong positive correlations between the use of social networking sites or online gaming and the likelihood of being cyberbullied. While pupils in both schools were being taught about e-safety and cyberbullying, the provision of training for staff was patchy at best.

Conclusions
The study concludes with recommendations for further research and development of practice in schools, including additional resources and training for all staff and pupils.
Period21 May 2015
Event typeConference
LocationArmagh, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionRegional