Principal perspectives on social networking and the disruptive effects of cyberbullying
Heidi Stevenson Welker, Walden University, United States
Walden University . Awarded
Cyberbullying on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook has had negative effects on children at school. Cyberbullying disruption during the school day adds to the complexity of maintaining school operations, safety, and academic achievement. With the advancement of technology, there is a gap in the literature on the disruption in schools, particularly on schools’ culture, from cyberbullying. In this exploratory qualitative case study, principal perceptions were investigated to better understand the relationship of cyberbullying to the culture of the school and school disruptions as well as effective and ineffective interventions used to limit cyberbullying. The framework was based on the concepts of indirect aggression and reinforcement, suggesting cyberbullying is likely reinforced in social networking sites and with peers in the school. Ten middle school (Grades 5-8) principals within a suburban school district in the Midwestern United States were interviewed and a focus group of 5 principals was conducted. The district code of conduct, antiharassment, and bullying policies were used to support findings in this case study. For data analysis, notes and transcripts were reviewed and analyzed, identifying code words and patterns. The main findings, related to the 3 research questions, highlighted the importance of understanding principals’ perceptions that prevention and intervention impact culture, indirect aggression, technology’s influence on student behavior, and principals’ roles in teaching, learning, and leadership. This study may promote positive social change by providing insight into the ways school employees may minimize physical and mental health issues that cyberbullying may cause students as well as improve communication with students’ parents.
Welker, H.S. Principal perspectives on social networking and the disruptive effects of cyberbullying. Ph.D. thesis, Walden University.
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