UCLA Research on Cyberbullying


A new research piece on cyberbullying was published recently by a couple of UCLA professors that pointed out that 72% of youth between 12-17 experienced online bullying within the past year.  I find this number insanely high; the authors rightly note that their web-based methodology (constructed very similar to our older studies) possibly led to a sample of heavy Internet users who were more apt to be involved in online harassment (on either side of the equation).  Specifically, 66% of youth reported online insults, 27% reported online threats, 18% reported being victimizated via someone sharing embarrassing pictures, 25% reported being victimized by someone sharing communications that should have remained private, and 33% reported password theft.  While all of these are very real and do occur among youth, I am really surprised that the percentages are so high.  The researchers also found that 90% of victims do not tell an adult about their victimization; I find this remarkably high as well.  Our research has found that youth have become much more willing to tell an adult (e.g., a teacher, counselor, or parent) over the last few years, perhaps as these important adults make an effort to reach out to kids and demonstrate their availability to help with cyberspace-based problems.  I would be interested in seeing how age is related to talking to an adult in this study; I would expect an inverse relationship with younger kids much more willing to seek out assistance.  The other findings of the piece are largely in keeping with what we have found in terms of how cyberbullying affects youth emotionally, what tactics they employ to deal with the incident, how offline and online bullying are related, and whether victims know the perpetrator in real life.  Nevertheless, the results reported in this article remind us to be mindful of the methodology of the study when interpreting the findings.  How the data are collected seems to be an important consideration.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *