Young people think friends are more at risk of cyberbullying

Young people are aware of the risks of cyberbullying but perceive others as being more at risk than themselves. Young women are more vulnerable to this perception than young men.

Teenager using mobile phone
Camera icon
Teenager using mobile phone

Young people are aware of the risks of cyberbullying but perceive others as being more at risk than themselves. Young women are more vulnerable to this perception than young men.

This is the finding of a study by Nottingham Trent University's Dr Lucy Betts and Sondos Metwally, that will be presented as part of the poster presentation session at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Liverpool on Thursday (May 7).

A survey, designed to measure how vulnerable young people felt to cyberbullying and how vulnerable they felt compared to other people, was completed by 109 sixth form students (63 females and 46 males aged between 16 and 18 years old).

Analysis showed that sixth form students rated themselves as being at a lower risk of cyberbullying than other groups (friends, students your age, younger students, and strangers). Among these other groups, younger students were identified as those at most risk of becoming a victim of cyberbullying. Girls also had a higher perception of the risks of experiencing cyberbullying than boys.

Dr Betts said: “Our findings suggest that whilst young people are aware of the potential risks associated with cyberbullying they believe that they are less likely to experience cyberbullying than their peers. This unrealistic perception of invulnerability appears to lead many to think it is something that happens to other people.

“However, given the reported high prevalence rates of cyberbullying in some studies (ranging from 7 – 70 per cent) it may be necessary to implement more measures so that whilst continuing to raise young people’s awareness of the risks we also ensure they fully understand that this could actually happen to them.”

The study was funded by the University's School of Social Sciences.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Dave Rogers, Head of Communications, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Sondos was involved in this project during summer 2014 when she received a bursary funded by the School of Social Sciences at NTU to be involved in the research between her undergraduate degree second and third year. This is part of an ongoing wider line of research that Dr Betts is undertaking in to the area of cyberbullying.

    Full poster presentation title: "It won’t happen to me" – The Third Person Effect and Cyberbulling

    The British Psychological Society Annual Conference takes place from 5 to 7 May 2015 at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) Liverpool. For details of the programme visit the conference website.

    #bpsconf

    Follow BPSOfficial on Twitter and Facebook.

    The BPS is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. We are responsible for the development, promotion and application of psychology for the public good. For more information visit the BPS website.

    For further information please contact the British Psychological Society Press Centre on telephone +44 (0)116 252 9500 or via email.

Young people think friends are more at risk of cyberbullying

Published on 5 May 2015
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Social Sciences

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418