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NCJ Number: 220796 Find in a Library
Title: Does Online Harassment Constitute Bullying?: An Exploration of Online Harassment by Known Peers and Online-Only Contacts
Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health  Volume:41  Issue:6  Dated:December 2007  Pages:S51-S58
Author(s): Janis Wolak J.D.; Kimberly J. Mitchell Ph.D.; David Finkelhor Ph.D.
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Grant Number: 2005-MC-CX-K024;HSCEOP-05P-00346
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined differences in the characteristics of harassed youth, online harassment incidents, and distressing online harassment based on the identity of online harassers (known peer vs. online-only contact).
Abstract: Results indicate that the Internet provides opportunities for the extension of conventional school bullying to new venues. Education and prevention messages should be tailored to different age groups, including the recognition that online harassment frequently involves high school students; younger youth and those with social skills deficits and problems with aggression should be taught coping skills and interacting skills for Internet communication. Those who study conventional school bullying should include online forms of the behavior in research, prevention, and intervention paradigms. In many cases, the concept of bullying or cyber-bullying might be inappropriate for online interpersonal offenses. Online harassment should be used with disclaimers that it does not constitute bullying unless it is part of or related to offline bullying. This would include incidents perpetrated by peers that occur entirely online, but arise from school-related events or relationships and have school-related consequences for targets. In the past year, 9 percent of youth reported online harassment, 43 percent by known peers and 57 percent by people they met online and did not know in person (online-only contacts). Most online harassment incidents did not appear to meet the standard definition of bullying used in school-based research and requiring aggression, repetition, and power imbalance. Only 25 percent of incidents by known peers and 21 percent by online-only contacts involved both repeated incidents and either distress to the targets or the need for adult intervention. A nationally represented sample of 1,500 youth Internet users, ages 10 to 17 years old participated in a telephone survey conducted between March and June 2005. Limitations included a survey which was designed to collect data about bullying, but did not allow for analysis of characteristics for assessment of distress over multiple incidents, and lack of data to evaluate cases in which harassment may have constituted bullying. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims; Online Victimization
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Bullying; Children at risk; Early intervention; Intervention; Multiple victimization; Victimization risk; Victimization surveys
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