International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, Vol 7, No 1 (2014)


Heidi Vandebosch, Karolien Poels, Gie Deboutte


Cyberbullying is a common phenomenon amongst young people. It exhibits many similarities to traditional school bullying, with a potentially serious impact on the mental health and school functioning of victims. For this reason, action by schools is often recommended. The aim of this article is to provide a better picture of what schools are currently doing to address cyberbullying and of what schools will need to continue doing so in the future. An online survey was conducted among staff members of 309 primary and secondary schools in Flanders, which is the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. The questionnaire measured the schools’ experiences with cyberbullying and their perceived responsibility and efficacy in dealing with this issue as well as their concrete preventive, detective, and reactive actions. The results indicate that, although most schools are aware of relatively few cases of cyberbullying, they do consider cyberbullying to be a problem. Many schools consider it their duty to inform students about cyberbullying and to help find solutions to cyberbullying incidents involving students, even if they take place away from the school grounds or outside school hours. Although most schools organize concrete actions with regard to cyberbullying, they often seem uncertain about the appropriateness and effectiveness of their actions. They would welcome evidence-based intervention programmes that would appeal to their students.

To cite this document: Heidi Vandebosch, Karolien Poels, and Gie Deboutte, "Schools and cyberbullying: Problem perception, current actions and future needs", International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 29-48, 2014.

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