An international research project led by Professor Sheryl Hemphill of Australian Catholic University (ACU) has found that the factors leading to incidents of cyber-bullying are different to those which result in traditional bullying.
Of the 927 students surveyed in Victoria, approximately 15 per cent had been engaged in cyber-bulling and 21 per cent in traditional bullying. Seven per cent had been involved in both.
Professor Hemphill found that academic failure, family conflict and past bullying behavior were the main factors leading to episodes of traditional bullying. Of these, only past behavior, in the form of relational aggression, was a factor leading to incidents of cyber-bullying.
Relational aggression refers to covert forms of bullying such as exclusion and spreading rumours.
Professor Hemphill commented that “Advances in technology can provide young people with positive ways to communicate but can also bring about new risks,”