Teenagers may be underestimating the risk of becoming a target of cyberbullying as many of them believe that their peers are at greater risk than they are.
Lucy Betts, PhD, and Sondos Metwally of Nottingham Trent University in England conducted a survey involving 109 students between 16 and 18 years old (63 females, 46 males) asking them how vulnerable they felt they were to cyberbullying.
Most students said they were at a lower risk of cyberbullying than their peers, though the participants said that younger students were at the most risk of becoming a victim, the researchers will report in a poster presentation this week at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference.
In addition, girls had a greater perception of experiencing cyberbullying than boys did.
“Given the reported high prevalence rates of cyberbullying in some studies (ranging from 7-70%), it may be necessary to implement more measures so that whilst continuing to raise young people’s awareness of the risks we also ensure they fully understand that this could actually happen to them,” Betts said in a statement.
Dartmouth researchers last month reported that many Facebook users believe they are less likely to experience cyberbullying because of optimistic bias, though that tendency may actually make them more susceptible to the bullying and its negative psychological effects.
Young people are aware of the risks of cyberbullying but perceive others as being more at risk than themselves. Young women are more vulnerable to this perception than young men.
This is the finding of a study by Dr. Lucy Betts and Sondos Metwally from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) that will be presented as part of the poster presentation session at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference May 7 hosted in Liverpool.
A survey, designed to measure how vulnerable young people felt to cyberbullying and how vulnerable they felt compared to other people, was completed by 109 sixth form students (63 females and 46 males aged between 16 and 18 years old).