Sending and receiving threatening, offensive comments, images or videos on social media can trigger negative perceptions for the importance of school and learning, especially among female teenagers.
According to researchers from Nottingham Trent University in England, 11-15 year-old girls who were most involved in cyberbullying -- as perpetrator, victim, or both -- felt the least accepted by their peers. The study, published in the Springer journal Sex Roles1, says cyberbullying can be extremely damaging and cause a great deal of stress for young people given its potential to occur around the clock.
‘The more acceptance girls received from the peers, the more likely they were to shrug off the effects of cyberbullying and enjoy school and the less likely they were to participate in virtual attacks.’
"With the increasing amount of time they spend using digital technology, young people are at great risk of being involved in cyberbullying - as a victim, bully, or both," said lead researcher Dr. Lucy Betts. "Our findings highlight that stressors outside the school grounds can have a negative impact on how young women perceive school," she continued.
They analysed 345 male and females and asked them to completed questionnaires which measured levels of cyberbullying involvement -- such as sending and receiving threatening or offensive comments, rumours and the sharing of images or videos -- over the last three months. The findings indicated that females who reported the highest levels of involvement in cyberbullying felt the least accepted by the peers.
In terms of males, only boys who had been involved in cyberbullying as both bully and victim felt more negatively about school and learning, the study found. Females who felt the least accepted felt more negatively about school and learning, while those who felt more accepted were more positive. The more acceptance girls received from the peers, the more likely they were to shrug off the effects of cyberbullying and enjoy school and the less likely they were to participate in virtual attacks.
"Our work also contributes to the growing evidence that involvement in cyberbullying undermines peer relationships and highlights the importance of these relationships upon attitudes towards learning and school for young women," Betts noted.