Effectiveness of coping strategies for victims of cyberbullying

Vol.7,No.3(2013)

Abstract
Although cyberbullying is a well-studied online risk, little is known about the effectiveness of various coping strategies for its victims. Therefore, this study on 2,092 Czech children aged 12-18 examined which coping strategies were applied most often and to what extent victims of cyber aggression judged them to be effective. Effectiveness was measured in two ways: the extent to which the coping strategy buffered negative emotions, and the extent to which it stopped the cyber aggression. The subsample of 422 respondents (68% girls) who experienced online attacks was divided into two groups: victims of cyberbullying, who experienced long-term and severe victimization, and victims of less severe online harassment. The selection of strategies was compared between these groups and the most prevalent and effective strategies were identified. Overall, respondents in both groups used more than one strategy at once, but for victims of cyberbullying, most of the strategies proved less effective. Both groups showed similar patterns in their use of technical solutions, and both quite frequently sought social support. Also, both groups showed a low tendency for retaliation. Large differences were found in how respondents employed cognitive responses, such as trying to detach mentally from bullying incidents; these strategies were less frequent among victims of cyberbullying. In terms of effectiveness, victims of harassment considered technical solutions such as blocking contacts on social websites, seeking support, or ignoring the bully on purpose the most effective in stopping victimization, as opposed to victims of cyberbullying, who found them less effective, even though they used them as frequently as victims of online harassment. Differences in the effectiveness of coping strategies are discussed with regard to the intervention and prevention of cyberbullying.

Keywords:
cyberbullying; coping strategies; effectiveness
Author biographies

Hana Machackova

Author photo Hana Machackova, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at Masaryk University, where she works at the Institute for Research of Children, Youth, and Family. Her research interests include cyberbullying, online communities, and self-disclosure and privacy online.

Alena Cerna

Author photoAlena Cerna is a Ph.D. student in psychology at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University and works at the Institute for Research of Children, Youth and Family within Masaryk University. Her doctoral thesis is focused on the topic of coping with cyberbullying and online harassment and she participates on the research projects “Coping strategies for cyberbullying among Czech adolescents” and “Online risks among Czech adolescents”. Internet and health is also one of her more general interest areas, with an emphasis on health-related online activities of today's youth.

Anna Sevcikova

Author photo Anna Sevcikova, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Her research interest includes sexuality on the internet and psychosexual development. She also specializes in researching online risks among children and adolescents.

Lenka Dedkova

Author photo Lenka Dedkova is a PhD student of social psychology at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, where she also works for the Institute for Research of Children, Youth and Family. Her research interests include cyberbullying and meeting online strangers, with focus on children and adolescents, but she’s also interested in online security behavior and social networking sites.

Kristian Daneback

Kristian_ultra malyKristian Daneback, Ph.D. is the Professor of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and in the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. His main field of research is sexuality and in particular internet sexuality, but he is also interested in other internet related phenomena such as parenthood and the internet, cyberbullying, and how the internet can be used to collect qualitative and quantitative data. Daneback has published his research in several well known international journals such as Archives of Sexual Behavior, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking, Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, Journal of Bisexuality, and Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. In addition, he is a reviewer for journals such as Journal of Sex Research, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Pediatrics, Sex Roles, and Sexual Reproduction & Health Care. Currently he serves as the Associated Editor of Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace and is a Board Member of the Open Journal of Communication and ISRN Family Medicine. Daneback is also a member of the International Academy of Sex Research and the Association of Internet Researchers.
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