Link between cyber bullying and parental styles

15 March 2013

Over 95 percent of teenagers use social networking sites and some overseas reports show that over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.

Link between cyber bullying and parental styles - Imported from Legacy News system

Psychology Masters student Rosemary Carson

Over 95 percent of teenagers use social networking sites and some overseas reports show that over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.

A University of Canterbury postgraduate is researching issues surrounding cellphone cyber bullying behaviour and how it may relate to parenting styles and family backgrounds.

Psychology Masters student Rosemary Carson is also investigating modern parenting styles that are beginning to emerge such as uninvolved parenting and ‘helicopter’ parenting. Her thesis is being supervised by Dr Verena Pritchard and Associate Professor Martin Dorahy.

Of the adolescents who own a cell phone over 50 percent use it to communicate with their friends either via phone call or text every day. Further to this, teens are now texting at least 60 times per day on average.

Studies have shown online bullying or cyber bullying have been rising in prevalence amongst children and adolescents.

"The existing research on parenting and cyber bullying behaviours is largely limited to internet-based cyber bullying. There is little if any research concerning the contribution of parenting styles to children and adolescents’ development regarding cell phone use particularly with respect to the new parenting styles that are emerging,’’ Carson said.

"My thesis intends to address these gaps in the literature and provide a comprehensive account of possible relationships between parenting styles and cyber bullying behaviours with regard to cell phones.

"My first project will include a pilot study including people aged 13-17 years who took part in the earlier study looking to address cell phone ownership age, demographics and behaviours in New Zealand adolescents.

"Information obtained from these participants will give a clear indication of baseline demographics with regard to age of access and cell phone use. It will also provide descriptive information of bullying and risky behaviour with regard to cell phones.

"The second part of my research will be specific to cyber bullying behaviours via cellphones and will address types of cyber bullying, frequency and severity of behaviour.’’

Carson said she wants to find out the age of first access and prevalence of cell phone ownership in teenagers and the demographics associated with cell phone access at ages 13-17 years of age.

The Government plans to introduce new legislation which will criminalise cyber bullying and require schools to take action against digital tormentors.

A Law Commission report last year recommended new legal requirements for all schools to help combat bullying.

For further informationplease contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz