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Societies 2015, 5(2), 492-514; doi:10.3390/soc5020492

Cyberbullying and Primary-School Aged Children: The Psychological Literature and the Challenge for Sociology

School of Education, University of South Australia, St Bernard's Road, Magill SA 5072, Australia
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Academic Editors: Conor Mc Guckin and Lucie Corcoran
Received: 4 March 2015 / Revised: 6 May 2015 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyberbullying: Where Are We Now? A Cross-National Understanding)
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Abstract

Cyberbullying is an international issue for schools, young people and their families. Whilst many research domains have explored this phenomenon, and bullying more generally, the majority of reported studies appear in the psychological and educational literatures, where bullying, and more recently, cyberbullying has been examined primarily at the individual level: amongst adolescents and young people, with a focus on the definition, its prevalence, behaviours, and impact. There also is growing evidence that younger children are increasingly accessing technology and engaging with social media, yet there is limited research dedicated to this younger age group. The purpose of this paper is to report on a systematic literature review from the psychological and educational research domains related to this younger age group, to inform future research across the disciplines. Younger children require different methods of engagement. This review highlights the methodological challenges associated with this age group present in the psychological literature, and argues for a greater use of sociological, child-centred approaches to data collection. This review examined studies published in English, between 2009 and 2014, and conducted with children aged 5–12 years, about their experiences with cyberbullying. Searches were conducted on seven key databases using keywords associated with cyberbullying and age of children. A Google Scholar search also examined published and unpublished reports. A total of 966 articles and reports were retrieved. A random peer review process was employed to establish inter-rater reliability and veracity of the review. Findings revealed 38 studies reported specifically on children aged 5–12 years. The dominant focus of these articles was on prevalence of cyberbullying, established through survey methodology. Few studies noted impacts, understanding and behaviours or engaged children’s independent voice. This review highlights current gaps in our knowledge about younger children’s experiences with this form of bullying, and the importance of employing cross-disciplinary and developmentally appropriate methodologies to inform future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyberbullying; young children; primary-school; systematic; review; research methods cyberbullying; young children; primary-school; systematic; review; research methods
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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

Ey, L.-A.; Taddeo, C.; Spears, B. Cyberbullying and Primary-School Aged Children: The Psychological Literature and the Challenge for Sociology. Societies 2015, 5, 492-514.

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