Cyberbullying on college campuses bringing new ethical issues, researcher says

Jul 10, 2013

Cyberbullying in the college environment can pose serious consequences for students' living and learning environments, including physical endangerment, according to newly published research by a UT Arlington associate education professor.

Jiyoon Yoon, director of the Early Childhood – Grade 6 Program for the UT Arlington College of Education and Health Professions, co-authored the paper "Cyberbullying Presence, Extent, and Forms in a Midwestern Post-secondary Institution," which appears in the June 2013 issue of Information Systems Education Journal.

The researchers found that most respondents considered cyberbullying to be more prevalent at the secondary school level. But respondents said harassment via social media, text message or other can be pernicious in the college environment and merited official response from administrators.

"We hope our study will lead universities to ask themselves 'What does the university do to help minimize cyberbullying in academe?'" Yoon said. "Students also need to know about this and how to prepare for something like this if it happens to them."

Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the UT Arlington College of Education and Health Professions, said Yoon's work contributes to the ongoing conversation about the role of in providing safe .

"There are very few academic studies examining cyberbullying at the college level even though it can seriously impact every aspect of a student's life," Gerlach said. "We eagerly await her findings as she further investigates this issue in education."

Yoon undertook the study with then-graduate student Julie Smith while both were at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Their work was motivated by a 2010 campus incident in which two white harassed an African-American student through an site.

The issue of cyberbullying garnered national attention the same year after an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off the George Washington Bridge following an incident in which his roommate posted compromising videos of the freshman online.

Yoon said her own interest in the issue began after she observed students harassing peers on Facebook.

"I started thinking about cyberbullying and how people overwhelmingly tend to think that it only happens to teens. But more and more college-age students are dealing with this problem," Yoon said. "Co-eds cyberbully classmates, and I was shocked to discover students trying to cyberbully their instructors, too."

For their study, Smith and Yoon surveyed 276 students from University of Minnesota campuses. They found that college students were not only using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other to cyberbully others, but they also were harassing peers through university technology infrastructures intended for educational purposes and other platforms for online learning.

Student participants indicated that when a victim's life was imperiled, the university should play a major role in curbing the cyberbullying. Yoon and Smith wrote that their research led the University of Minnesota Duluth to adopt cyberbullying language in their 2012 student conduct code to try to address the cyberbullying phenomenon.

Yoon said she will focus her next phase of research on the role that a college student's socio-economic background plays in being both a perpetrator and victim of cyberbullying.

Explore further: Why don't men live as long as women?

More information:

Related Stories

Cyberbullying puts teens at risk

Jun 05, 2013

Teenage victims of cyberbullying, defined as the use of the internet or cell phones to send hurtful and harassing messages, are more likely to develop symptoms of depression, substance abuse and internet ...

Cyberbullying may call for new prevention tactics

Apr 23, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Cyberbullying is different than traditional bullying, and anti-bullying programs need to use specific measures to combat online aggression, a new Canadian study says.

Cyberbullying and bullying are not the same: research

Apr 13, 2012

University of British Columbia research comparing traditional bullying with cyberbullying finds that the dynamics of online bullying are different, suggesting that anti-bullying programs need specific interventions to target ...

Recommended for you

Australia left for dust on early childhood education

20 hours ago

A new McKell Institute report shows Australia is being left behind by other developed nations that treat childcare as a vital early childhood education opportunity for all, and not simply 'babysitting' for mothers returning ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.