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Decreasing Cyberbullying Perpetration and Victimization

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventions

For generations, children have been bullied in school and on the playground. Technology has recently opened a new frontier.

Cyberbullying—the act of inflicting or receiving negative, damaging, or abusive language or harassment through information and communications technology—is a pervasive and persistent school safety problem and has the potential to present significant and lasting social, adjustment, and academic problems for perpetrators and victims alike.

According to www.stopbullying.gov, cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else through, for example, social media (for example, on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter), text messages, and email. The intent is often to cause embarrassment or humiliation.

Youth Targets of Cyberbullying

Youths at increased risk for cyberbullying victimization include those who

• Have experienced sexual or physical abuse or maltreatment.
• Have run away from or are homeless.
• Are involved in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems.
• Are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
• Engage in substance use.
• Experienced earlier pubertal maturation.
• Experienced early adversity.

While programs to address cyberbullying have proliferated, research on their effectiveness in preventing perpetration and victimization is nascent. A synthesis of the existing primary research findings is necessary so that policymakers and practitioners can respond appropriately to school violence and cyberbullying.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Cyberbullying Prevention Programs

With grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, DSG, in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research and University of Florida, is conducting a large-scale systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that measure the impacts of school violence, bullying, and targeted cyberbullying prevention programming on cyberbullying perpetration and victimization outcomes, school performance indicators, and in-person bullying perpetration and victimization.

The multiyear study entails comprehensive searches of the published and unpublished literature and data, thorough coding practices, and state-of-the-art meta-analytic techniques. We will use multiple meta-regression techniques to examine heterogeneity among the effect sizes, and we will translate the effect sizes into meaningful, easily understood metrics.

Lead Scientists

• Principal Investigator Joshua R. Polanin, Ph.D., with American Institutes for Research
• Co-Principal Investigator Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., with the University of Florida
• Senior Analyst Jennifer Grotpeter, Ph.D.

For More Information About the Cyberbullying Study

Contact DSG Senior Research Scientist Jennifer Grotpeter at 301.951.0056 or jgrotpeter@dsgonline.com