‘I h8 u’: Findings from a five-year study of text and email bullying


School of Sport and Education, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, UK. E-mail: ian.rivers@brunel.ac.uk


This study charts reports of nasty or threatening text and email messages received by students in academic years 7 and 8 (11–13 years of age) attending 13 secondary schools in the North of England between 2002 and 2006. Annual surveys were undertaken on behalf of the local education authority to monitor bullying. Results indicated that, over five years, the number of pupils receiving one or more nasty or threatening text messages or emails increased significantly, particularly among girls. However, receipt of frequent nasty or threatening text and email messages remained relatively stable. For boys, being a victim of direct-physical bullying was associated with receiving nasty or threatening text and email messages; for girls it was being unpopular among peers. Boys received more hate-related messages and girls were primarily the victims of name-calling. Findings are discussed with respect to theoretical and policy developments, and recommendations for future research are offered.