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Patterns of and Copying with Cyberbullying in Croatia

Gordana Buljan Flander, Domagoj Stimac, Ella Selak Bagaric, Maks Vinscak

Abstract


Aims. Children’s online activities can result in serious consequences in their offline lives. Although Facebook is one of the biggest and most popular social networks in the world, there is little scientific research on cyberbullying via this social network because it is a new phenomenon. This study had the aim of examining children's behavior and experiences of violence on the Facebook social network. This seems to be the first research on cyberbullying on social networks in Croatia.

Methods. Data presented in this paper were collected as part of an extensive research project conducted in 2013 by NGO Brave Phone and The Child Protection Center of Zagreb. The sample consisted of 1,489 children in Croatia aged 11 to 18 in rural and urban areas that completed the Scale of Victimization on Facebook and Scale of Committing Violence via Facebook.

Results. Our results show that the average age when cyberbullying is most prevalent is between the ages of 15 and 16. In the overall sample, 12.1% of them experience abuse on Facebook, while 9.6% of them are abusive. The analysis of the children who were involved in  abuse on Facebook in any way, showed that 44.4% of them experienced abuse, 29.7% showed abusive behavior, while 25.9% of children both experienced abuse and were abusive on Facebook. Victims are mostly girls (60%), while boys commit cyberbullying more often (62%). Also,  58% of mixed cybervictims and cyberbullies are boys.

Discussion. The results of prevalence of cyberbullying in our study are similar to those of previous population based studies. It is important to point out that although the prevalence of bullying was high; it is mostly a rare experience for the majority of children.

Conclusions. Cyberbullying is a serious and growing problem and the academic community has to continue with the extensive research and development of practical prevention and intervention programs. Future research aimed at examining methods of coping with negative experiences on the Internet is necessary and there is a strong need for more research considering coping strategies of adolescents struggling with cyber victimization.


Keywords


Cyberbullying, Children, Facebook, Cybervictims, Social networks, Abusive behavior

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5750/ijpcm.v4i4.489

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