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A Research Proposal
The concept of cyber bullying has gained increasing significance across the world, with research providing details about its impacts on the health of the victims. Particularly, it has been shown that cyber bullying is a cause of emotional disturbance among adolescents and young people in general. Furthermore, the concern around the impacts of cyber bullying is compounded by risks to personal security that is often raised within the social context of cyber bullying. The impacts of this form of bullying are often not easily understood among adults, and it can be difficult for affected children and youths to access help.
Because of the need to understand the concept of cyber bullying and its impacts on those affected, the proposed research aims at determining the impacts of cyber-bullying on the health of university students. To do this effectively, the first objective will be to explore what the students consider cyber bullying to be and whether they can distinguish the forms of cyber bullying that exist. The second objective will be to explore their stances on cyber bullying. The last objective will be to determine the physical and emotional impacts of cyber bullying on the affected individuals. In order to understand the impacts of cyber bullying on the health of students, the concept of cyber bullying will be represented based on different dimensions adapted from literature.
This study aimed to assess the knowledge of the ECU’s on what bullying is and the health impacts on the victims. A qualitative approach to research will be used in this study, with an interview technique. The interview questions will be asked online to at least 50 students. They will be selected among Edith Cowan University students through the random sampling method. The university is located in Western Australia. The online interviews using an audio or video conferencing application such as Zoom. The data collected will be coded and analyzed to determine consistency with existing literature. The data analysis will be conducted using a recursive abstractive technique, in which the key themes in the data are abstracted and summarized based on the key thematic classes defined prior to data collection. It is expected that the participants will be able to link practices such as trolling and threatening of users with the practice of cyber bullying and will also be able to identify and describe some of the effects of such practices on the victims’ health.
Various studies have been conducted about cyber bullying. Similarly, research has shown that with the advancement in technology, the traditional forms of bullying are currently shifting to technology-based bullying practices. According to Cowie (2013), many young people experience cyber bullying. While some of these victims can recognize cyber bullying and to deal with it, there are many others that cannot recognize the vice. Moreover, patterns of cyber bullying also differ across different parts of the world, which occasions the differences in the definition of what cyber bullying constitutes. A study by Menesini et al. (2012) showed that despite the increasing popularity of the concept of cyber bullying, variations in the conceptualization of the concept has resulted in difficulties in defining it. Particularly, cultural divergences play a significant role in determining the definition accorded to cyber bullying. The frequency and intensity of cyber bullying also differs from country to country depending on the national cultures of those countries (Felipe-Castano et al., 2019). Due to the lack of a uniform definition of cyber bullying, there have been proposals of different categorizations of the concept including based on the means by which it is carried out and based on the type of harassment performed. Other studies have categorized cyber bullying on the devices and platforms used for perpetrating it (Cowie, 2013). This implies that in order to understand how students define cyber bullying, there has to be an interaction through which they give their perspectives from a first-hand perspective.
Besides the studies aimed at clarifying what cyber bullying is, various studies have also explored the impacts of cyber bullying on the victims. Accordingly, it has been shown that cyber bullying has significant negative impacts on the victims, including sadness, hopelessness, and feelings of powerlessness (Nixon, 2014). Other studies have suggested that cyber bullying has physical effects besides the emotional and mental health effects that are commonly proposed (Cowie, 2013). Other studies have mentioned psychological impacts of cyber bullying, which have been compared and found similar to the outcomes of traditional forms of bullying (Kowalski & Limber, 2013). Cyber bullying is described as a stressor capable of causing depression and affecting the academic performance of the victims (Extremera et al., 2018). As such, there is need for further exploring the effects of the concept.
Despite the many studies conducted on the concept of cyber bullying, there are still gaps in its definition as well as in its effects on the health of victims. Particularly, Menesini et al. (2012) argue that due to the methodological differences across different studies and among different groups of scholars, a clear definition of cyber bullying has not been realized. To address this gap in literature, the proposed study will attempt to explain cyber bullying not based on an individual’s definition but based on a series of constructs that encompass the different proposals made. The study will also explore the effects of cyber bullying based on the distinctions between physical and psychological effects of the practice.
The aim of this study is to assess the knowledge of students attending Edith Cowan University (ECU), Western Australia in 2020, about what cyberbullying is.
The objectives of the project are to:
1. online survey will be conducted (quantitative method)
2. Assess the knowledge of what bullying is
3. Assess the knowledge of students regarding the mental health impact of cyberbullying
What is ECU’s students’ knowledge level of what bullying is and the health consequences of it for the victims?
Sub- question 1: What is ECU’s students’ knowledge level of what cyberbullying is?
Sub- question 2: What is ECU’s students’ knowledge level of the mental health consequences of those being bullied?
Sub- question 3: What is ECU’s students’ knowledge level of the physical health consequences of bullying on the victims?
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