Parental behaviour affects the involvement of children in cyberbullying

Andalusian researchers demand the involvement of families and training in prevention programmes

Experts from the Universities of Seville and Cordoba have recently published a study of the perception that adolescents have of the upbringing they have had and their relationship to cyberbullying. In this way, the data obtained highlights that the involvement of families and their training in prevention programmes is a fundamental as it has been shown that parental behaviour has an influence on the involvement of children in cyberbullying.

“The most important thing is that children who are not involved in cyberbullying are those that receive most affection from their parents, and signs of encouragement of independence and good humour. In addition, they are children who happily talk to their parents about things that interest them and worry them. Whereas those children who have received an education based on punitive discipline (psychological control and physical or psychological punishment) tend to be more involved in cyberbullying”, states the University of Seville researcher Rosario del Rey.

The information analysed by this group of researchers came to another conclusion: when parenting practices are not very suitable, it seems that the probability increases that the children might be victimised or involved in the double role of aggressor/victim, while in the case of girls, when they are treated in this way, they tend to be cyber-aggressors.

This study, in which a total of 2,060 Andalusian secondary school students participated, was carried out as part of the project, ‘Sexting, Cyberbullying and Emerging Risks on the Internet: Keys for their Understanding and Educational Response’ (‘Sexting, Ciberbullying y Riesgos Emergentes en la Red: Claves para su Comprensión y Respuesta Educativa’), part of the State Plan 2013-2016 Excellence – R+D Projects led by the University of Seville, in which researchers from the Universities of Córdoba and Jaén also participated.

‘Asegúrate’ Programme

This educational programme, developed by Andalusian researchers, is based on the theory of behaviour according to social norms, self-regulation skills and the beliefs of the adolescents. It consists of a complete package of strategies and resources to help teachers, which can be included in the ordinary curriculum.

Recent studies confirm that, without the intervention of teachers in class, cyberbullying increases among students. Specifically, in the article ‘Asegúrate: An Intervention Program against Cyberbullying Based on Teachers’ Commitment and on Design of Its Instructional Materials’, the behaviour and opinions of a total of 4,779 students in 5th and 6th grade in compulsory primary and secondary education (48.9% girls) are taken into account.

“The cases of online victims, online aggressors and victims of cyberbullying goes down when interventions are made by teachers who have had specific training and have used the Asegúrate teaching package”, Rosario del Rey states.

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