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Teachers’ perceptions, beliefs and concerns about cyberbullying

Authors

  • Sigal Eden,

  • Tali Heiman,

  • Dorit Olenik-Shemesh


Address for correspondence: Sigal Eden, Department of Education, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, Israel. Email: ueden@upp.co.il

Abstract

Schools and teachers nowadays face new difficulties and challenges as a result of the fast growth of cyberbullying. The aim of the study is to examine the perceptions, beliefs and concerns about cyberbullying, as well as the needs, of a professionally diverse group of teachers. Three-hundred and twenty-eight teachers (88.4% female, 11.6% male) from different types of schools and professional foci were randomly selected and completed a cyberbullying questionnaire regarding their perceptions of cyberbullying and about their personal experiences in relation to cyberbullying. They also provided background information. Findings indicate that teachers noted that cyberbullying is a problem in their school, suggesting that urgent attention be paid to three aspects: policy making, enhancing awareness of the school team and coping strategies for parents. About half the teachers reported that students complain of harassment through the mobile phone and Internet, and some teachers were themselves cyberbullied. It was found that the teachers’ gender, education level and the age of the students they taught affected their level of concern about cyberbullying, and therefore how credible they found the school's commitment to act on it. Female teachers expressed more concern than male teachers, as did teachers of younger children. Special education teachers were more concerned than mainstream teachers and were more likely to believe that the cyberbullying must be confronted. The results contribute to our understanding of the teachers’ perceptions, beliefs and concerns about cyberbullying, which could serve as a basis for developing policy guidelines in schools as well as establishing programs for school teachers to cope with cyberbullying.

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