Cyberbullying in WhatsApp classmates’ groups: Evaluation of an intervention program implemented in Israeli elementary and middle schools

Dana Aizenkot, Gabriela Kashy-Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social networking platforms, such as WhatsApp, constitute a major part of adolescents’ social lives. Alongside the positive aspects of such platforms, there is a risk of using them as a means for cyberbullying. Schools have become increasingly aware of this risk and are prioritizing fighting cyberbullying through intervention programs, yet few interventions have been studied for their effectiveness. This study reports the results of a wide-scale school-based intervention designed to reduce cyberbullying and improve usage norms in WhatsApp classmates’ groups. Data were collected from 52 classes in 12 public schools in Israel: n = 47 elementary school classes, 4th to 6th grades, and n = 5 middle school classes, 8th grade. A total of 1402 students answered questionnaires pre-intervention (51% females), while 90% of them (n = 1268, 52% females) answered questionnaires 1 month post-intervention. Results indicated a significant decrease in WhatsApp cyberbullying and a significant improvement in classroom climate. In addition, improvement in WhatsApp usage norms was positively correlated with a decrease in WhatsApp cyberbullying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4709-4727
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume20
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • WhatsApp
  • children
  • classroom climate
  • cyberbullying
  • intervention programs
  • social networks

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