Author(s)

Dana Manzi-Schaed

Date Approved

2-3-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Campbell, Robert

Subject(s)

Cyberbullying

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to discover the lived experiences of male and female high school students regarding cyber bullying on social networking websites. Previous research has shown that male and female students have very different experiences with traditional bullying; the current phenomenon of cyber bullying has yet to be widely researched. In addition, this research sought to better understand what, if any, the gender differences were in how students perceive adult prevention of cyber bullying as well as how both genders behave in informing adults of instances of cyber bullying. The goal of this research was to ultimately uncover the lived experiences of male and female students regarding cyber bullying so as to meet each gender's needs in future bullying intervention programs. The participants consisted of 10 males and 10 females from population of 1,010 students; the main source of data came from a series of short and focused interviews. The research design allowed for a more detailed description of how males and females experience cyber bullying, but did not aim to answer why they had different experiences regarding cyber bullying. Instead, a description of their experiences was revealed and interpretations and meaning to describe this phenomenon were deduced. This research gives a voice to all children who are subjected to cyber bullying and portrays the humanistic side of the issue. Overall, this study revealed that the majority of females feel that cyber bullying on social networking websites is a common occurrence among other females. In accordance with traditional bullying patterns, female cyber bullies often socially isolate and gossip about their victims through the medium of social networking websites. In addition, male students also follow the traditional bullying patterns, as male on male cyber bulling begin by targeting victims online with words or pictures, with most situations inevitably leading to a physical altercation. Both male and female students reported there is little to no adult intervention regarding cyber bullying, and they would most often report incidents of bullying abuse to their guidance counselors. This study reaffirmed the notion that male and female students experience different levels and styles of cyber bullying, which should be reflected in future intervention programs.

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