ჯორჯი ჯეფერსონი რ.

უფროსი მასწავლებელი, მასწავლებელთა განათლებისა და ადმინისტრაციის დეპარტამენტი, ჩრდილოეთ ტეხასის უნივერსიტეტი, დენტონი,


Predictive Factors for Online Aggression: A Pilot Study

(მასწავლებელთა გადამზადება (TT) / ტრენერთა ტრენინგი (TOT) / სწავლა მთელი სიცოცხლის მანძილზე (LLL))


Introduction and aim: The current pilot study assesses the relationship between online aggression, also called cyberbullying, to the theoretical framework of moral disengagement. Specifically, predictive factors that indicate the relationship between online aggression and moral disengagement were assessed in the survey. The current study ask the questions:

• Is online aggression a significant factor for American high school students?

• Will students who report participating in cyberbullying or online aggression also report greater levels of moral disengagement when compared to students who report no involvement with cyberbullying or online aggression?

• Are the factors of age, gender, grade in school, ethnicity, economic status, self-reported academic success, attendance at church, family system, school satisfaction, school culture, social relationships and self-reported mood predictive of a higher or lower moral disengagement scale scores?

• Are higher moral disengagement scores predictive of self-reported online aggression or cyberbullying?

Research methodology: For the pilot study, the survey was presented to 158 American high school students in grades 9-12 in an urban school district in North Central Texas. The students were selected for the study using a convenience sample of the career and technology classes in the participating high school who returned an approved Informed Consent form signed by their parent or guardian or signed the Informed Consent for themselves as a student who is age 18 or over. Students participated in the online survey voluntarily and anonymously. This sample represents a population of 2000 high school students using a Confidence Level of 95% (p< .05) and a Percentage of 50%. The Confidence Interval for this sample was calculated to be 7.43.

The survey results reported in this pilot study contain the results from one high school of an ongoing study that is being conducted in high schools in the North Texas area. The results from this study are being used to determine the effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses of the survey instrument.

Results and implications: Student responses to the survey items as noted in Table 4, provide an insight into the thought process of this preliminary sample of respondents. The responses to the survey items indicate a general understanding of moral agency regarding cyberbullying by almost 70% of the respondents to the cyberbullying questions in the current study. Cyberbullying has become a normal part of growing up in today’s world for 34% of the respondents and 79% of the respondents agree that cyberbullying is a criminal offense. Students want adults to be responsible for protecting them from cyberbullies (66% agree) and 69% of the students agreed that it was their responsibility to do something when they see cyberbullying. Respondents acknowledged that people get cyberbullied because they are different (71%) and that some people are cyberbullied because they hurt other people (also 71%). This also provides an insight into the idea of retaliation and the behavior of the cyberbully/cybervictim. Interestingly, 32% if the respondents see students who are cyberbullied as bringing it on themselves and provide another insight into the dehumanizing and blaming construct of the victim roles in moral disengagement (Bandura, 1999).

A smaller percentage of the respondents acknowledged their moral disengagement and willingness to participate in decidedly anti-social behaviors. For 6% of the respondents it is okay to pick on losers online, and for 11% of the respondents it is okay to join in when someone you do not like is being bullied online. For 9% of the respondents cyberbullying is okay in their group and 12% of the respondents willingly acknowledged that sometimes it was okay to cyberbully other people. Fifteen percent (15%) of the respondents agreed that some people need to be cyberbullied just to teach them a lesson, and 5% of the respondents agreed that cyberbullying is a good way to solve problems.

Conclusion: Cyberbullying and online aggression have become paramount issues of the youth of today. Children with no support or children with without moral guidance lose their way. The victim in a cyberbully situation has nowhere to go. Digital cell phones, constant internet communications, text messaging, social media, and a world that is ever present in our homes, schools, cars and the devices we carry with us for 24 hour communication with the world make it impossible to escape the constant digital harassment of cyberbullying. Children, whose self-esteem is enveloped in the world of adolescence and the angst of growth and mental and physical development, turn to their friends but look to their parents and other adults for guidance and support. The loss of any one of these children is unconscionable and the behavior that is allowed to permeate the airwaves cannot go unnoticed. Bullying and cyberbullying must be met head-on, face-to-face and faced down.

Keywords: online aggression, online behavior, moral disengagement