A phenomenological study giving voice to the 11-16 year old senior school populations’ experience of ‘cyberbullying’ via the social media site, Facebook(TM) within Bath and North East Somerset

Selby, S (2017) A phenomenological study giving voice to the 11-16 year old senior school populations’ experience of ‘cyberbullying’ via the social media site, Facebook(TM) within Bath and North East Somerset. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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This study focuses on the experiences of the 11-16 year old school population of Bath and North East Somerset, situated in the South West of England, and specifically gives voice to the victims within that sample who have been Cyberbullied through the social media site Facebook. The objectives were: to discover what are the lived experiences of the 11-16 year old schoolchildren from the Bath and North East Somerset area who have been cyberbullied through the Facebook social media website? And, from their stories, what construct(s) emerges of the nature of cyberbullying within these parameters? To achieve this a collaboration was established between the Avon & Somerset Constabulary, Bath and North East Somerset District Council, Bath Spa University and 7 local schools. A phenomenological lifeworld approach was employed, utilizing a questionnaire with open-ended questions, analysed with a phenomenological method. Descriptive statistics were then also included, where appropriate, to support and contextualise the findings. 4,706 questionnaires were distributed and 2,495 (1,152 male/1,343 female) students responded, representing a return rate of 53.02%. Within this 340 reported having been victims of cyberbullying and 198 (58.24%) identified that their ‘Cyberbullying’ had occurred through the Facebook social media site, justifying a more defined research focus. In this study the victimization rate was 13.63%, while past research (in the 11-16 age group) record variations from 24% to 45%, potentially resulting from misunderstanding of what constitutes ‘cyberbullying’. Indeed, this study commenced by confirming the potential for such confusion and the inherent danger to data integrity if the concept is not clearly defined. From this strong foundation the study questions were then examined through the following emergent themed areas: 1. Initial Reaction. 2. Response after reflection. 3. Resultant feelings. 4. Cause. 5. Prevention. These findings were then examined and positioned within the conceptual framework of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development model (1958) and the findings indicated that the conventional level, (stages 3 and 4) was the main cognitive process underpinning cyberbullying interactions within this 11- 16 year old sample. Additional examination and positioning was then also achieved within an adapted conceptual framework of Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life model (1959), where social interactions are viewed as performances. Through this approach the finding indicated that the actor’s desired perception from the audience became the main battleground and active factor in the commissioning of cyberbullying. Recommendations included presenting the case for a universally acceptable definition, encompassing legal wording; thereby standardising understanding of the phenomenon, supporting data integrity and enabling comparability across the field of study. Other recommendations included improved social media provider anti-cyberbullying systems that are robust, responsive and fit for purpose. Together with acknowledging the need for holistic approaches where all relevant parties engage in cyberbullying safeguarding.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

Thesis supervised by Dr. Dana Ruggiero and Professor Steven J. Coombs. Thesis sponsored by Somerset Crimebeat Trust.

Keywords: youth, online social networks, Facebook, social media, cyberbullying, victimisation, crime reduction, e-safety
Divisions: School of Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.17870/bathspa.00010142
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2017 16:58
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 13:33
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142
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