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Previously completed studies have illuminated the

concern that many parent(s)/guardian(s) are oft times unaware, and/or


under estimate, the
amount of bullying their child is experiencing (Ziegler & RosensteinManner, 1991).
Thus, cyberbullying is often taking place via communication pathways
that are relatively
unfamiliar, unexplored, or simply unknown to adults. The metaphoric
partitions that are
created via the technological chasm inhibit fundamental
understandings from
formulating.
The prevalence of cyberbullying appears to be increasing in number
and severity.
Researchers Hinduja and Patchin (2006) completed a study of nearly
1,500 Internet-using
adolescents and found that over one-third of youth reported being
victimized online and
over 16% of respondents admitted to cyberbullying others. Over 12%
of the
cyberbullying incidents included physical threats, and 5% of the
respondents reported
being scared for their safety. A corroborating 2004 survey by i-Safe
America of 1,556
students from grades 6 to 8 found that 42% had been bullied online
and 35% had been
threatened. Additionally, it was found that 53% of the students have
said hurtful things to
others online. When other forms of cyberbullying are factored in (i.e.
text messaging,
defamatory Web and polling sites, IM, e-mails, blogs, etc.), one can
delineate that issues
do exist. Cyberbullying adds a new thread of harassment that impacts
a significant
portion of adolescents today. Adolescents are utilizing electronic
technology to harass
other students, spread vicious rumors, and in some cases engage in
threats of various
types of physical violence. A fundamental goal of the study was to add
educationally
significant information to the nascent research on the cyberbullying
phenomenon.
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Research Questions
1. What is cyberbullying?
2. How is cyberbullying distinct from physical bullying?

3. How prevalent and pervasive (according to survey responses) is


cyberbullying
for middle school students in Wisconsin?
4. Of those students who identify with cyberbullying, how many
actually
reported the incidents to parents or guardians, teachers,
administrators, or
police?
5. What interventions are utilized by the aforementioned adults when
reports are
submitted?
6. What interventions are reported as being most effective by students
and
adults?
Significance of the Study
The value of scholarly research to uncover the insidious nature,
prevalence, and
various perceptions of cyberbullying in La Crosse is immeasurable.
Currently, a paucity
of research on the topic of cyberbullying exists, and the topic is
becoming more than just
a noteworthy concern for the School District of La Crosse and the La
Crosse community.
New information surfaces daily indicating that adolescent bullying has
gone digital; this
research study has assisted in more accurately and fully
conceptualizing this everexpanding
phenomenon.
The purpose of the present study was to conduct an investigation on
cyberbullying
that would be pliable, timely, and relevant for school practitioners; a
summation of
pragmatic information, which can be accessed as a reference with ease
and common
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understanding. Much of what has been reported in the popular press
has been aptly
defined as a description of individual cases versus actual scholarly
research. The study
detailed herein garnered adolescent students (6th 8th grade) and
middle school/junior
high principals perceptions regarding the nature, prevalence, and
impact of
cyberbullying. Embedded within the larger umbrella goals are the
particulars that make

this study purposeful for educational practitioners; essentially a step


up from the
dramatization, staging, and embellishments that can be found in some
forms of
mainstream media. Those particulars include a working definition of
cyberbullying and
how the new permutation differs from physical bullying; the prevalence
of cyberbullying
according to survey respondents (this inherently includes the
accessibility of
communication and information platforms that work as the medium for
cyberbullying
and the frequency of utilization); victim reporting resources and
potential inhibitions
toward reporting; and the interventions being utilized/suggested by
both students and
middle level/Jr. high administrators. The following will delve into these
relevant
elements of the cyberbullying phenomenon, along with additional
findings of the study,
and outline their implications.
It is the researchers genuine desire that the combination matrix of
results has
created a greater awareness regarding cyberbullying intricacies and as
a result will
empower the School District of La Crosse to investigate stopgap,
preventative, and
informational measures to assist building-level practitioners effectively
deter the latest
toxic element impacting our transescent students.