Cyberbullying in the college environment can pose serious consequences for students’ living and learning environments, including physical endangerment, according to newly published research by a UT Arlington associate education professor.
Research by Jiyoon Yoon, associate professor of education, indicates
social media and electronic communications are outlets for cyberbullying
targeting college students.
director of the Early Childhood – Grade 6 Program for the UT Arlington College of
Education and Health Professions, co-authored
the paper “Cyberbullying Presence, Extent,
and Forms in a Midwestern Post-secondary Institution,” which appears in the June 2013
issue of Information Systems Education
The researchers found that most respondents considered
cyberbullying to be more prevalent at the secondary school level. But
respondents said harassment via social media, text message or other electronic
communications can be pernicious in the college environment and merited
official response from administrators.
hope our study will lead universities to ask themselves ‘What does the
university do to help minimize cyberbullying in academe?’” Yoon said. “Students
also need to know about this and how to prepare for something like this if it
happens to them.”
Gerlach, dean of the UT Arlington College of Education and Health Professions,
said Yoon’s work contributes to the ongoing conversation about the role of
educational institutions in providing safe learning environments.
are very few academic studies examining cyberbullying at the college level even
though it can seriously impact every aspect of a student’s life,” Gerlach said.
“We eagerly await her findings as she further investigates this issue in education.”
Yoon undertook the study with then-graduate student Julie
Smith while both were at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Their work was motivated
by a 2010 campus incident in which two white students harassed an
African-American student through an online social networking site.
The issue of cyberbullying garnered national attention the
same year after an 18-year-old
Rutgers University student jumped off the George Washington Bridge following an
incident in which his roommate posted compromising videos of the freshman
said her own interest in the issue began after she observed students harassing
peers on Facebook.
started thinking about cyberbullying and how people overwhelmingly tend to
think that it only happens to teens. But more and more college-age students are
dealing with this problem,” Yoon said. “Co-eds cyberbully classmates, and I was
shocked to discover students trying to cyberbully their instructors, too.”
their study, Smith and Yoon surveyed 276 students from University of Minnesota campuses.
They found that college students were not only using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
and other social networking sites to cyberbully others, but they also were
harassing peers through university technology infrastructures intended for
educational purposes and other platforms for online learning.
participants indicated that when a victim’s life was imperiled, the university should
play a major role in curbing the cyberbullying. Yoon and Smith wrote that their
research led the University of Minnesota Duluth to adopt cyberbullying language
in their 2012 student conduct code to try to address the cyberbullying
said she will focus her next phase of research on the role that a college
student’s socio-economic background plays in being both a perpetrator and
victim of cyberbullying.
University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more
than 33,800 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North
Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.