Face to Face and Cyberbullying: The Connections

When we talk about bullying,
often times parents and teachers want to talk about
cyberbullying. Um, a lot of teachers
and administrators in schools actually feel that
“cyberbullying” is the problem and face-to-face is not. And so, certainly
I have through, um, a number of studies tried to
address another myth that-that this idea that cyberbullying
is the only issue that we have. And if we got rid of
the cell phones that everything else
would go away. So I what I wanna show you
here is a longitudinal, just the results
of a longitudinal study that we conducted to kind of
combat this myth, right? To show through data that,
in fact, cyberbullying and face-to-face
bullying are related. So, we had about
1,100 participants and they were in middle schools. There’s a three cohort. We followed them over time,
longitudinal study being kind of the hallmark. Um, so we didn’t just
survey them once. What-we followed them over time
to see the relations between face-to-face bullying
and victimization, perpetration and victimization. And then their online behavior. Okay. So I know, you’ll look at this and you’ll think, “Ah, structural
equation modeling.” And you want to roll your eyes. Don’t. I’m going to walk you through
it, it’s very, very easy here. So essentially what happens
is when we surveyed the kids and asked them the extent
to which they, um, engaged in bullying behaviors
like calling kids names, spreading rumors, excluding
them, those types of things. Um, and we asked them over time. So over a two-year
period the same kids. So imagine these kids
being in that top bubble across the top that says bullying preparation. And then at the bottom we asked
them the extent to which they engaged in these
same behaviors but online or through social media. And what you see here, uh,
for those of you that are statistically-oriented, the root means square error of approximation there,
the closest to zero, means that this model
fit the data. Essentially, what it means is
if I engage in bullying, um, peers at school, face-to-face,
six months later, I’ll do it online. And this is
a longitudinal association. What that means from
a prevention standpoint, is if we reduced face-to-face
bullying in the schools, then we would have a potential
to cut that tie to their online behavior. So essentially, if this were
a phone and I’m at school, and we are pro-social,
and we’ve reduced bullying, when I pick up my phone,
I’ll be less likely to engage in that mean, cruel behavior. So this actually shows that if
you only focus on the bottom circles
and not the top circles, you’re only getting half
of the story. Okay. Now look at this. Now this is actually
beautiful what you see is a, what we call a
“transactional p-pattern.” And this is very simply,
for many of the administrators out there, um, or even teachers, the Monday morning
effect, right? So essentially, I’m victimized
at school one Friday, it plays out online
on the entire weekend and then blows up,
um, Monday morning. What this model actually shows
is when I am victimized at school, six months later
I’m likely to perpetrate online and because, another myth, because I know who I’m perpetrating against,
or who’s perpetrating against me on-online. It then leads to me being
victimized more at school. So again, so if we slow down
the victimization face-to-face, that those top circles,
we will have likelihood of reducing the online behavior that’s so mean and cruel. And again, it’s a beautiful
model it fits great.