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Conclusion and Discussion - © 2010 the turkish online journal of qualitative inquiry


Conclusion and Discussion



The proportion of participants who experienced or observed a specific cyberbullying incident retains previous arguments regarding the prevalence of the problem (Akbulut et al., 2010b & 2010c; Arıcak, 2009; Arıcak et al., 2008; Erdur-Baker, 2010; Erdur-Baker & Kavşut, 2007; Ryan et al., 2011). In this regard, awareness raising towards collaboration and dialogue is of utmost importance. That is, even though certain individuals are not victims, they are quite likely to be aware of the victims around them. Encouraging them to take immediate and responsible actions against cyberbullying is a critical implementation in this regard.

Differences between males and females were expected (Akbulut et al., 2010b; Aricak et al., 2008; Erdur-Baker & Kavşut, 2007) in contrast to studies indicating no gender differences (Patchin & Hinduja, 2006). However, the victims were more likely to be females in the current study. In addition, the profiles of the victims suggested that the issue was not peculiar to adolescents, but apparent in different age groups (Akbulut et al. 2010a & 2010b; Arıcak, 2009; Dursun & Akbulut, 2010). Such univariate reflections partially retain previous hypotheses. Further and in-depth analyses can be conducted to address the influence of several other background variables on cyberbullying and victimization. For instance, marital and socioeconomic status; purpose, frequency, location, time and nature of Internet use; program of study; language proficiency; and several psychosocial factors can be embedded in research designs to describe interactions among background variables influencing cyberbullying and victimization. Moreover, regarding cultural differences observed previously (Li, 2008; Ryan et al., 2011), cross-cultural comparisons of individuals’ experiences through in-depth analyses may lead to critical leaps regarding the description of cyberbullying in different cultures.

The means and types of cyberbullying reported by preservice teachers were quite similar to those reported in the literature (Willard, 2005). Harassment was the most frequent type followed by flaming. Previously it was reported that indirect flaming, exclusion and denigration were prevalent cyberbullying types observed in formal instructional settings (Dursun & Akbulut, 2010). Thus, one can suggest that flaming and exclusion transforms into harassment and cyberstalking when the perpetrators are confident that they remain anonymous. Findings further implied that blackmailing was a common type of cyberstalking. The least frequent type of cyberbullying was recording/sharing embarrassing scenes through mobile phones. Regarding that capturing humiliating scenes is quite attractive to young individuals, this finding could be interpreted as a consequence of digital divide rather than the scarcity of the incident. If the majority had PDAs, probably such instances would have been reported more frequently.

Reported problems stemming from cyberbullying revealed that the issue was quite serious, and retained the significant relationships between cyberbullying and emotional troubles (Erdur-Baker & Tanrıkulu, 2009; Hoff & Mitchell, 2009; Juvonen & Gross, 2008; Patchin & Hinduja, 2006 & 2010; Ybarra, Mitchell, Wolak, & Finkelhor, 2006). Themes emerging from the reflections further retained that cyberbullying interfered with students’ ability to learn at school (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010; Shariff & Strong-Wilson, 2005). Thus, awareness raising on ethical use of information and communication technologies through embedding the subject in the school curricula, and empowering collaboration among stakeholders of the school are urgent steps to take.

The frequency of precautions among participants demonstrated the high degree of indifference toward cyberbullying, which was expected (Huang & Chou, 2010). However, current findings further implied that even a two-hour lecture regarding the issue could contribute to awareness raising and serve as empathy training, which could be quite helpful in decreasing future incidents (Ang & Goh, 2010). In this regard, after planning to embed the issue to school curricula as a compulsory subject, further investigations can be conducted to understand the nature of training to lessen such unpleasant incidents. As a critical step, the subject matter could be covered in the curricula of the departments of computer education and instructional technology, since the graduates of these departments play the leading role both in the IT literacy education of the pupils, and in assisting other school staff.

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