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College Cyberbullying Can Have Serious Consequences

College Cyberbullying Can Have Serious Consequences While many associate cyberbullying with high school or middle school, new research finds online bullying on a college campus can also be very detrimental to a student’s personal and academic life.

University of Texas – Arlington researchers discovered harassment via social media, text message or other electronic communications can be pernicious in the college environment – actions which merit an official response from administrators.

Jiyoon Yoon, Ph.D., co-authored the paper “Cyberbullying Presence, Extent, and Forms in a Midwestern Post-secondary Institution,” which appears in Information Systems Education Journal.

“We hope our study will lead universities to ask themselves ‘What does the university do to help minimize cyberbullying in academe?’” Yoon said. “Students also need to know about this and how to prepare for something like this if it happens to them.”

Experts say that Yoon’s work contributes to the ongoing conversation about the role of educational institutions in providing safe learning environments.

“There are very few academic studies examining cyberbullying at the college level even though it can seriously impact every aspect of a student’s life,” said Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the UT Arlington College of Education and Health Professions.

Yoon said her research was motivated by an incident at a Midwestern college in which two white students harassed an African-American student through an online social networking site.

The issue of cyberbullying garnered national attention the same year after an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off the George Washington Bridge following an incident in which his roommate posted compromising videos of the freshman online.

Yoon said her own interest in the issue began after she observed students harassing peers on Facebook.

“I started thinking about cyberbullying and how people overwhelmingly tend to think that it only happens to teens. But more and more college-age students are dealing with this problem,” Yoon said.

“Co-eds cyberbully classmates, and I was shocked to discover students trying to cyberbully their instructors, too.”

For their study, Smith and Yoon surveyed 276 students from University of Minnesota campuses. They found that college students were not only using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networking sites to cyberbully others, but they also were harassing peers through university technology infrastructures intended for educational purposes and other platforms for online learning.

Student participants indicated that when a victim’s life was imperiled, the university should play a major role in curbing the cyberbullying. Yoon and Smith wrote that their research led the University of Minnesota Duluth to adopt cyberbullying language in their 2012 student conduct code to try to address the phenomenon.

Yoon said she will focus her next phase of research on the role that a college student’s socioeconomic background plays in being both a perpetrator and victim of cyberbullying.

Source: UT-Arlington

Upset college student reading his text photo by shutterstock.

College Cyberbullying Can Have Serious Consequences

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). College Cyberbullying Can Have Serious Consequences. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 11 Jul 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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