What Constitutes Cyberbullying: Perspectives from Middle School Students

  •  Jenny Mischel    
  •  Anastasia Kitsantas    


This study used an explanatory mixed methods approach in order to better understand what constitutes cyberbullying behavior through the lens of middle school students. Participants (N=189) were asked to respond to descriptive vignettes of potential cyberbullying situations, increasing in severity. A subset of the students (N=6) also participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings suggest middle school students perceive online interactions to escalate into cyberbullying when posted messages might damage one’s reputation or friendships (i.e., denigration) or when inappropriate shared artifacts result to negative commentary (i.e., outing/trickery). Main concerns for these types of transactions were the perpetrator’s intent to cause harm as well as the potential for an online interaction to be shared publicly. According to participants, most distressing was for posts (e.g., messages, images, rumors) to be experienced repeatedly. Instead of the recipient to experience undue stress through one post, they may experience repeated victimization through additional comments. Implications for educators and limitations are discussed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

Journal Metrics

(The data was calculated based on Google Scholar Citations)

1. Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.11
2. h-index (December 2021): 29
3. i10-index (December 2021): 87
4. h5-index (December 2021): N/A
5. h5-median (December 2021): N/A