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Societies 2015, 5(1), 43-64; doi:10.3390/soc5010043

Dutch Cyberbullying Victims’ Experiences, Perceptions, Attitudes and Motivations Related to (Coping with) Cyberbullying: Focus Group Interviews

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Open University The Netherlands, Valkenburgerweg 177, PO Box 2960, 6419 AT Heerlen, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Conor Mc Guckin and Lucie Corcoran
Received: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyberbullying: Where Are We Now? A Cross-National Understanding)
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Abstract

Because of the negative effects of cyberbullying; and because of its unique characteristics; interventions to stop cyberbullying are needed. For this purpose, more insightful information is needed about cyberbullying victims’ (i.e., the target group) experiences, perceptions, attitudes and motivations related to (coping with) cyberbullying. Five schools with 66 low-educated Dutch adolescents between 12 and 15 (53% female) participated in 10 focus group interviews. Results show that victims do not perceive all behaviors as cyberbullying and traditional bullying is generally perceived as worse than cyberbullying. Cyberbullies are perceived as sad, cowards and embarrassing themselves. Victims are perceived as easy targets; they wear strange clothes, act in a provocative manner and have a bad appearance. These perceptions often depend on context, the level of anonymity, being in a fight or not, the person sending the message and his/her behavior. Further, victims reacted to cyberbullying by acting nonchalant, by not actually saying anything and seeking help from others (i.e., parents are not often asked for help because they do not want to bother them; fear of restricted Internet privileges). It can be concluded that asking cyberbullying victims about their experiences in an open manner, and allowing them to discuss these experiences, likely results in new and insightful information compared to using self-reports. In this questioning the perception of adolescents is key to see what is perceived as cyberbullying. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyberbullying; adolescents; experiences; attitudes; perceptions; coping strategies; qualitative results cyberbullying; adolescents; experiences; attitudes; perceptions; coping strategies; qualitative results
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jacobs, N.C.; Goossens, L.; Dehue, F.; Völlink, T.; Lechner, L. Dutch Cyberbullying Victims’ Experiences, Perceptions, Attitudes and Motivations Related to (Coping with) Cyberbullying: Focus Group Interviews. Societies 2015, 5, 43-64.

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