Program Research: Global Cyber-Bullying in the 21st Century
Bullies have gone high tech and become gender equal. Research shows that cyber-bullies in Japan are predominantly females between the ages of 12 and 17 who use the Internet and cell phones to send email, text messages and digital pictures that are designed to create psychological stress for another individual.
Findings from Baylor’s Tony L. Talbert and Ikuko Aoyama indicate today’s cyber-bullying teen activities fit into one or more sociocultural categories such as flaming, harassment, cyber-stalking, denigration, masquerading, outing, trickery and exclusion. Talbert, associate professor of social studies education and qualitative researcher in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Aoyama, Japanese international student and educational psychology doctoral candidate, traveled to Tokyo, Japan, in May 2008 to collect ethnographic interview and observation data from middle and high school students in Japanese public schools.
“In Japan, Canada, Australia and Europe there seems to be some attention to cyber-bullying, but not in the United States,” Talbert says. Funded through the BaylorUniversity Research Council and a School of Education research sabbatical, the present study gathered data through an online survey and semi-structured interviews. The analysis of more than 100 responses describes the breadth and depth of cyber-bullying among public high school and middle school students in Tokyo and surrounding areas in Japan.
Talbert and Aoyama reported their preliminary findings at the Fifth International Conference on Social Justice and Teacher Education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Additional survey and interview data from U.S. public school students will be collected and analyzed during fall 2008.
“Cyber-bullying is a growing problem internationally and while there have been many studies on traditional bullying, there have been few studies on cyber-bullying in the United States,” Aoyama notes.
Combined with the Japanese student data, the present research will generate additional external grant proposals and research journal manuscripts recommending cyber-bullying prevention and intervention strategies for teachers, parents, administrators, policymakers, and students attending public schools in Japan and the United States.