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Understanding Cyberbullying: Developing an Evidence-Based Definition

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2016
2 pages
This NIJ authored article details research into cyberbullying, and the new challenges it presents law enforcement, parents, and school officials in protecting children.
Through this cyberbullying study, supported by NIJ funding, Dr. Megan Moreno of the Seattle Children's Research Institute developed a concept map to better describe cyberbullying and develop an evidence-driven definition of cyberbullying. To do so, she applied concept mapping methodology, which is frequently used toward developing conceptual frameworks to describe complex topics. In the research, a total of 177 participants contributed to the concept mapping process. Five stakeholder groups adolescents; parents; and professionals representing education, health, and the justice system were represented and included 69 percent females, 50 percent adults, and 68 percent Caucasian. Findings support that cyberbullying is best understood in the broader context of bullying, but that stakeholder perceptions about the uniqueness of cyberbullying are strong. Bullying presents a complex set of behaviors within roles that may be fluid and lead to negative consequences for both perpetrators and targets.

Date Published: September 1, 2016