Minding the Gap: An Examination of Educators' Perceptions about Cyber Bullying in U.S. Schools

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Johns Hopkins University
This research investigates the perceptions of cyber bullying among parents and educational professionals in U.S. schools. Initial research on the subject of cyber bullying revealed that anti-bullying laws in more than 20 U.S. states include terms that define cyber bullying. Collectively, these laws identify three domains of terms which identify: (a) devices that can be used to cyber bully, (b) possible individuals or groups that could be victims of cyber bullying; and, (c) possible motivations for acts of cyber bullying. The Cyber bullying Knowledge Survey (CBKS) was developed to determine if parents and educational professionals in U.S. school identify cyber bullying in similar ways to how it is legally defined; and, to determine if a disparity exists between how parents and educational professionals define cyber bullying and how it is legally defined. The survey was designed to measure the level of accuracy and degree of certainty with which study participants are able to identify the legally recognized terms that describe cyber bullying. Prior to distribution of the CBKS, the survey was administered to a panel of experts in cyber bullying and survey development and to a small group of individuals from the target population. The CBKS was validated by these two groups. Email distribution and Facebook were used as the primary recruitment tools for soliciting survey participation. Data collected from the CBKS was tested using a Mixed Model ANOVA to determine if study participants were accurate in identifying those terms that legally define cyber bullying. Results of the testing revealed that a significant difference does exist between the way parents and educational professionals recognize cyber bullying when compared to ways in which it is recognized by law. Implications of these results for research and practice are discussed.
cyber bullying, online harassment, bullying, aggression