Understanding wellbeing online: cyberbullying, help-seeking and coping behaviours

Year: 2013

Author: Karklins, Larisa, Spears, Barbara, Tadeo, Carmel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Cyberbullying is an issue that has received considerable publicity and there is a growing body of evidence around the significance of cyberbullying for young people's wellbeing. Young people who are cyberbullied have been found to exhibit signs of depression, self-harm and thoughts about suicide, and recent evidence suggests that victims of cyberbullying experience significantly more social difficulties and higher levels of anxiety and depression than victims of traditional bullying (Campbell, Spears, Slee, Butler & Kift, 2012).  The ABS (2010) reports that  suicide remains the leading cause of death for all Australians between 15 and 34 years of age.
Limited research has examined help seeking and coping behaviours in young people engaged in bullying and less in cyberbullying. The coping mechanisms adopted by these young people are not well understood, as coping has commonly been looked at in regards to how young people deal with a ‘stressful' situation rather than due to cyberbullying. It is also known that young people rarely seek help when they are bullied by traditional means but less is known about their help seeking behaviours in relation to cyberbullying.
This presentation will explore help-seeking behaviours and coping mechanisms of young people who are engaged in cyberbullying. This presentation will also explore young people's general wellbeing in online environments, how it relates to cyberbullying, depression and suicidal ideation and the implications this has for educational settings. Online surveys were administered to young people aged 12-17yrs (n= 165) in the pilot cohort for a longitudinal study from the Safe and Well online study. Findings will be discussed in terms of progressing our understanding of how online interventions can assist young people to seek help and cope with cyberbullying, with a view to reducing harm and impact, and to inform teachers', parents' and young people's online practices.
Campbell, Marilyn A., Spears, Barbara, Slee, Phillip, Butler, Desmond A., & Kift, Sally M. (2012). Victims' perceptions of traditional and cyberbullying, and the psychosocial correlates of their victimisation. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 17(3-4), 389-401
Statistics, Australian Bureu of. (2010, 2012). Suicides, Australia, 2010  Retrieved 08/05/2013, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/3309.0~2010~Chapter~Summary?OpenDocument