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      “I felt angry, but I couldn’t do anything about it”: a qualitative study of cyberbullying among Taiwanese high school students


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          Cyberbullying is a growing public health concern threatening the well-being of adolescents in both developed and developing countries. In Taiwan, qualitative research exploring the experiences and perceptions of cyberbullying among Taiwanese young people is lacking.


          We conducted in-depth interviews with a convenience sample of high school students (aged 16 to 18) from five schools in Taipei, Taiwan, without prior knowledge of their cyberbullying experiences. In total, 48 participants were interviewed.


          We found that the experience of cyberbullying is common, frequently occurs anonymously and publicly on unofficial school Facebook pages created by students themselves, and manifests in multiple ways, such as name-calling, uploading photos, and/or excluding victims from online groups of friends. Exclusion, which may be a type of cyberbullying unique to the Asian context, causes a sense of isolation, helplessness, or hopelessness, even producing mental health effects in the victims because people place the utmost importance on interpersonal harmony due to the Confucian values in collectivistic Asian societies. In addition, our study revealed reasons for cyberbullying that also potentially reflect the collectivistic values of Asian societies. These reasons included fun, discrimination, jealousy, revenge, and punishment of peers who broke school or social rules/norms, for example, by cheating others or being promiscuous.


          Our findings reveal the pressing need for the Taiwanese school system to develop cyberbullying prevention programmes considering the nature and sociocultural characteristics of cyberbullying.

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          Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in secondary school pupils.

          Cyberbullying describes bullying using mobile phones and the internet. Most previous studies have focused on the prevalence of text message and email bullying. Two surveys with pupils aged 11-16 years: (1) 92 pupils from 14 schools, supplemented by focus groups; (2) 533 pupils from 5 schools, to assess the generalisability of findings from the first study, and investigate relationships of cyberbullying to general internet use. Both studies differentiated cyberbullying inside and outside of school, and 7 media of cyberbullying. Both studies found cyberbullying less frequent than traditional bullying, but appreciable, and reported more outside of school than inside. Phone call and text message bullying were most prevalent, with instant messaging bullying in the second study; their impact was perceived as comparable to traditional bullying. Mobile phone/video clip bullying, while rarer, was perceived to have more negative impact. Age and gender differences varied between the two studies. Study 1 found that most cyberbullying was done by one or a few students, usually from the same year group. It often just lasted about a week, but sometimes much longer. The second study found that being a cybervictim, but not a cyberbully, correlated with internet use; many cybervictims were traditional 'bully-victims'. Pupils recommended blocking/avoiding messages, and telling someone, as the best coping strategies; but many cybervictims had told nobody about it. Cyberbullying is an important new kind of bullying, with some different characteristics from traditional bullying. Much happens outside school. Implications for research and practical action are discussed.
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            Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide.

            Empirical studies and some high-profile anecdotal cases have demonstrated a link between suicidal ideation and experiences with bullying victimization or offending. The current study examines the extent to which a nontraditional form of peer aggression--cyberbullying--is also related to suicidal ideation among adolescents. In 2007, a random sample of 1,963 middle-schoolers from one of the largest school districts in the United States completed a survey of Internet use and experiences. Youth who experienced traditional bullying or cyberbullying, as either an offender or a victim, had more suicidal thoughts and were more likely to attempt suicide than those who had not experienced such forms of peer aggression. Also, victimization was more strongly related to suicidal thoughts and behaviors than offending. The findings provide further evidence that adolescent peer aggression must be taken seriously both at school and at home, and suggest that a suicide prevention and intervention component is essential within comprehensive bullying response programs implemented in schools.
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              Cyberbullying: another main type of bullying?

              Cyberbullying has recently emerged as a new form of bullying and harassment. 360 adolescents (12-20 years), were surveyed to examine the nature and extent of cyberbullying in Swedish schools. Four categories of cyberbullying (by text message, email, phone call and picture/video clip) were examined in relation to age and gender, perceived impact, telling others, and perception of adults becoming aware of such bullying. There was a significant incidence of cyberbullying in lower secondary schools, less in sixth-form colleges. Gender differences were few. The impact of cyberbullying was perceived as highly negative for picture/video clip bullying. Cybervictims most often chose to either tell their friends or no one at all about the cyberbullying, so adults may not be aware of cyberbullying, and (apart from picture/video clip bullying) this is how it was perceived by pupils. Findings are discussed in relation to similarities and differences between cyberbullying and the more traditional forms of bullying.

                Author and article information

                075-753-9477 , am10312002@gmail.com
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                28 May 2019
                28 May 2019
                : 19
                : 654
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0372 2033, GRID grid.258799.8, Department of Health Informatics, , Kyoto University School of Public Health, ; Yoshida Konoe-Cho, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto, 〒606-8501 Japan
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0372 2033, GRID grid.258799.8, Interdisciplinary Unit for Global Health, Center for the Promotion of Interdisciplinary Education and Research, , Kyoto University, ; Yoshida-honmachi, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto, 〒606-8317 Japan
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0372 2033, GRID grid.258799.8, Medical Education Center, , Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, ; Yoshida Konoe-Cho, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto, 〒606-8501 Japan
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0546 0241, GRID grid.19188.39, Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, , College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, ; No.17, Xu-Zhou Rd, Taipei, 10055 Taiwan
                Author information
                © The Author(s). 2019

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 25 July 2018
                : 17 May 2019
                Funded by: 2016 Kyoto University School of Public Health – Super Global Course travel scholarship to Taiwan through the Top Global University Project “Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program” and a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport
                Award ID: none
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                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2019

                Public health
                cyberbullying,asian context,social networking services,qualitative research
                Public health
                cyberbullying, asian context, social networking services, qualitative research


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