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Many Sources, One Theme: Analysis of Cyberbullying Prevention and Intervention Websites

Author(s): Rebecca Ahlfors

Journal: Journal of Social Sciences
ISSN 1549-3652

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 515;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Cyberbullying | intervention websites | children and adolescents | electronic bullying

Problem statement: Cyberbullying represents the expansion of traditional bullying into the electronic realm. As the problem of cyberbullying typically occurs via the Internet, many cyberbullying prevention and intervention resources have been made available online. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine general characteristics of cyberbullying prevention and intervention websites. This study was conducted as a preliminary survey of seventeen independent cyberbullying prevention websites. Approach: Categories for analysis were developed following consultation with three psychologists, one of whom specializes in online psycho educational interventions. Each of the seventeen cyberbullying websites was then reviewed for the same variables of target audience, main topics, use of published research and methods for relaying information. Results: Fourteen of the websites are oriented toward informing parents and caregivers while seven address latency aged children, eight address children ages eleven and twelve and eleven address adolescents. Nine of the websites address educators and six provide information for law enforcement professionals. The main topics consist of cyberbullying prevention and Internet safety tips, availability of a commercial product, methods for managing cyberbullying, signs a child is experiencing cyberbullying, information regarding the motivations for cyberbullying and miscellaneous but related topics. Sixteen of the seventeen reviewed websites present information comparable to the information found in empirically validated studies and ten of the websites list references to the published literature on the site. Methods for relaying information include text only, interactive formats, videos, personal stories, message board/blogs and newsletters. Conclusion/Recommendations: Psychological research showed that victims of cyberbullying believe they should manage the problem on their own and rarely confide in their parents. The results of analysis of the target audiences suggested that there is a disconnection between Internet based cyberbullying interventions and the main target audiences. To address this problem, future research should include evaluation of the accessibility and effectiveness of cyberbullying psycho educational websites designed for youth. Other areas to be researched include the potential negative consequences of online cyberbullying interventions and the need for Internet based cyberbullying prevention websites designed for cyberbullies. A definite area in need of research is on the efficacy of Internet based cyberbullying psycho educational sites in decreasing incidences of cyberbullying."
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