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In this paper we present data from a cross-sectional study on cyberbullying experiences and cyberbullying perpetration in the Republic of Cyprus. Data were collected from a representative sample of the adolescent student population of the first and fourth grades of high school. Total sample was 2684 students, 48.5% of them male and 51.5% female. Research material included extended demographics, a detailed questionnaire on Internet activities, the Parental Bonding Index (PBI) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). We compared the results on psychometry for those students who did not report being bullied or having bullied others with those who were bullied, those who bullied others and those who were both sufferers and perpetrators of cyberbullying. Those students who reported being both victims and perpetrators tended to show similar or higher dysfunction than those students who only perpetrated cyberbullying. High maternal and paternal protection in combination with low maternal and paternal care ('affectionless control' parenting style) was associated with perpetrating cyberbullying, either with or without any experience of oneself being bullied as well. Results support a hypothesis that the perpetration of cyberbullying is associated with inefficient parenting styles. They also point to the existence of significant emotional symptoms for the involved adolescents and also general conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and antisocial tendencies. It is important to note that perpetrators of cyberbullying were in most cases victims themselves at some point in time.
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Cyberbullying In Cyprus – Associated
Parenting Style and Psychopathology
Georgios FLOROS
1
, Anna PARADEISIOTI
2
, Michalis HADJIMARCOU
3
, Demetrios
G. MAPPOURAS
3
, Olga KALAKOUTA
4
, Penelope AVAGIANOU
1
, Konstantinos
SIOMOS
1
1
Hellenic Association for the Study of Internet Addiction Disorder, Larissa, Greece
2
Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents, Cyprus Ministry of Health
3
Inspectorate of Biology, Secondary Education, Cyprus Ministry of Education and
Culture
4
European Coordination Sector, Cyprus Ministry of Health
Abstract. In this paper we present data from a cross-sectional study on
cyberbullying experiences and cyberbullying perpetration in the Republic of
Cyprus. Data were collected from a representative sample of the adolescent
student population of the first and fourth grades of high school. Total sample was
2684 students, 48.5% of them male and 51.5% female. Research material included
extended demographics, a detailed questionnaire on Internet activities, the Parental
Bonding Index (PBI) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). We
compared the results on psychometry for those students who did not report being
bullied or having bullied others with those who were bullied, those who bullied
others and those who were both sufferers and perpetrators of cyberbullying. Those
students who reported being both victims and perpetrators tended to show similar
or higher dysfunction than those students who only perpetrated cyberbullying.
High maternal and paternal protection in combination with low maternal and
paternal care (‘affectionless control’ parenting style) was associated with
perpetrating cyberbullying, either with or without any experience of oneself being
bullied as well. Results support a hypothesis that the perpetration of cyberbullying
is associated with inefficient parenting styles. They also point to the existence of
significant emotional symptoms for the involved adolescents and also general
conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and antisocial tendencies. It is
important to note that perpetrators of cyberbullying were in most cases victims
themselves at some point in time.
Keywords: Cyberbullying, adolescents, parenting style, psychopathology
Introduction
An increasing number of cases of cyberbullying and online victimization have been
reported worldwide with victims reportedly suffering with increased mental distress,
decreased socialization and failure to achieve at school [1, 2]. Inefficient parenting has
been implicated in a recent survey as a possible mediating factor in cyberbullying
perpetration [3]. It is unclear to what degree those who perpetrate cyberbullying and
those who fall victims to it differ with regards to reported difficulties and
psychopathology; this holds even more for those adolescents who are both victims and
Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine 2013
B.K. Wiederhold and G. Riva (Eds.)
IOS Press, 2013
© 2013 Interactive Media Institute and IOS Press. All rights reserved.
doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-282-0-85
85
perpetrators. The Republic of Cyprus is at the present time mostly inhabited by
Cypriots of ethnic Greek origin, following the 1974 invasion of the island and
subsequent division along ethnic lines. Greek high school student populations in
mainland Greece have been recently demonstrated as being at a high risk with regards
to falling victims to cyberbullying but also being perpetrators of cyberbullying [3].
After those results from mainland Greece, a decision was made from the Cypriot
Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Culture to investigate the impact
of cyberbullying in Cyprus with a research program, in cooperation with the Hellenic
Association for the Study of Internet Addiction Disorder. This was decided to be a part
of a wider program on online addictive behaviors. In order to have an accurate picture
of the problem in each area of Cyprus and achieve our stated goals, we proceeded with
a study with a student sample representative of the entire student population. This is the
first published report from the island of Cyprus on cyberbullying.
1. Method
The research sample was drawn nationwide to be representative of the first and fourth
grades of the Cypriot high schools. Research material included extended demographics,
a detailed questionnaire on Internet activities, and the Greek versions of the Parental
Bonding Index (PBI) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The PBI
consists of 25 items rated on a four-item Likert scale with separate questionnaires for
father and mother. Two factors are extracted, Care with one pole defined by empathy,
closeness, emotional warmth, affection and another by neglect, indifference and
emotional coldness. Overprotection, ranging from overprotection, intrusion, excessive
contact, control and prevention of independent behavior to autonomy and allowance of
independence. The SDQ is a brief behavioral screening questionnaire for children and
adolescents ages 4 - 16 years old. The Greek versions of the PBI and the SDQ were
backtranslated into English and possess satisfactory test-retest reliability and internal
consistency [4] [5].
2. Results
Our research sample consisted of 2684 teen students between 12 and 18 years of age,
1302 (48.5%) of them male and 1382 (51.5%) female. Group frequencies on the type of
bullying experience a student had (none, victim, perpetrator or both) across the genders
are presented in Table 1. Female students were more likely to have fallen victims to
cyberbullying, less likely to have perpetrated cyberbullying and less likely to have been
both victims and perpetrators (p<.001) with a large effect size (eta, η) of .223
G. Floros et al. / Cyberbullying in Cyprus – Associated Parenting Style and Psychopathology86
Table 1. Types of cyberbullying experiences across the genders with between-gender comparison.
Bullying experience
Gender
Male Female Totals
None 965 (74.1%) 1017 (73.6%) 1982 (73.8%)
Victim 101 (7.8%) 264 (19.1%) 365 (13.6%)
Bull
y
92
(
7.1%
)
23
(
1.7%
)
115
(
4.3%
)
Victim and Bull
y
144
(
11.1%
)
78
(
5.6%
)
222
(
8.3%
)
Comparison between (sex) χ
2
(3)=132.911, p<.001, η=.223
Each student was asked a series of questions regarding the type of bullying
behavior. Results are presented in Table 2. Included in this table are also comparisons
between the sexes on each item. Those results are similar to those obtained in a survey
which employed the exact same questions in the Greek island of Kos, two years earlier
[3] although effect sizes (etas) for the gender differences tend to be lower. We
compared the results on psychometry for those students who did not report being
bullied or having bullied others with those who were bullied, those who bullied others
and those who were both sufferers and perpetrators of cyberbullying. ANOVA testing
of groups with different cyberbullying experiences (not being victimized, having being
bullied, baving bullied others and having being both bullied and a bully) showed that
bullied students showed significantly more dysfunction than those who were not, while
those students who reported being both victims and perpetrators tended to show similar
or higher dysfunction than those students who only perpetrated cyberbullying. This was
evident in the analyses of all related SDQ factors, namely Emotional Symptoms Scale ,
Conduct Problem Scale, Hyperactivity Scale, Hyperactivity Scale, Prosocial scale,
Total Difficulties, Summary score, Impact score (p<.001). High maternal and paternal
protection in combination with low maternal and paternal care (‘affectionless control’
parenting style) was associated with perpetrating cyberbullying, either with or without
any experience of oneself being bullied as well (p<.05) (Figure 1). Results support a
hypothesis that the perpetration of cyberbullying is associated with inefficient
parenting styles. They also point to the existence of significant emotional symptoms for
the involved adolescents and also general conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer
problems and antisocial tendencies. It is important to note that perpetrators of
cyberbullying were in most cases (Table 1) victims themselves at some point in time.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a practical way to query the participants of this survey as to
what came first, being bullied or bullying others, yet this fact is in itself alarming either
way; either the adolescent bullied first and likely provoked a response, or he/she
responded in kind after having been bullied himself/herself.
Following these findings, our research group formulated the following priorities in
the prevention and intervention program: The first priority would be to educate the
students in what ways cyberbullying can be hurtful to others. Contrary to more
common forms of bullying, cyberbullying follows the victim for an indefinite period of
time even if the perpetrator expresses remorse; it is much harder to take down offensive
online content than uploading it. Furthermore, online socialization has become in its
own right an important part of normal adolescent behaviors and being ‘digitally’
excluded can be crippling for the fragile adolescent self-esteem. Adolescents may
impulsively write a post on an Internet board or upload a photograph without realizing
that their intention to provoke a laugh may inflict psychic pain. Role-play during class
can help place anyone into the shoes of the victim, and help understand what it feels to
be discriminated and marginalized. Another priority is to make it easier for the
G. Floros et al. / Cyberbullying in Cyprus – Associated Parenting Style and Psychopathology 87
adolescent to come forward whenever such an incident took place rather than take it
upon himself to retaliate and prolong a vicious circle. This includes educating parents
so as to not overreact and blame the victim for being targeted thus making it harder to
confide in them. It also includes having a technology-savvy teacher in each school
designated as a contact person for cases of cyberbullying whom a student could reach
either anonymously or in person, knowing that specialized support is available. Finally
cyberbullying can be a useful social example for adolescents of placing your need for
justice to the hands of authorities rather than avenging with the same means used
against you; fairness, solving interpersonal problems directly rather than plotting
schemes and adequate behavioral self-control are essential for integration into society.
Table 2. Cyberbullying experiences for victims and perpetrators with comparisons between the sexes.
Havin
g
been bullied Havin
g
bullied others
Answer Male Female Totals Male Female Totals
Yes
245
(18.8%)
342
(24.7%)
587 (21.9%) 97 (7.5%) 62 (4.5%) 159 (5.9%)
No
1057
(
81.2%
)
1040
(
75.3%
)
2097 (78.1%)
1205
92.5%
1320 (95.5%)
2525
(
94.1%
)
Comparison χ
2
(1)=13.795 p<.001.η=.072 χ
2
(1)=10.567 p=.001.η=.063
Offensive remarks from someone I
knew
Offended someone I knew
Yes
118
(9.1%)
132
(9.6%)
250 (9.3%)
108
(10.7%)
43 (4.5%) 151 (7.7%)
No
1184
(
90.9%
)
1250
(
90.4%
)
2434 (90.7%)
903
89.3%
905 (95.5%)
1808
(
92.3%
)
Comparison χ
2
(1)=.089 p=NS, ,η=.008 χ
2
(1)=25.983, p<.001,η=.115
Offensive remarks from unknown Offended someone who didn’t know
Yes
60
(4.6%)
95
(6.9%)
155 (5.8%) 56 (4.3%) 18 (1.3%) 74 (2.8%)
No
1242
(
95.4%
)
1287
(
93.1%
)
2529 (94.2%)
1246
95.7%
1364 (98.7%)
2610
(
97.2%
)
Comparison χ
2
(1)=6.325, p=.012,η=.049 χ
2
(1)=22.484, p<.001,η=.092
Unsolicited erotic advances from
someone I knew
Solicited erotic advances from someone I
knew offline
Yes
22
(
1.7%
)
40
(
2.9%
)
62 (2.3%) 36 (2.8%) 5 (0.4%) 41 (1.5%)
No
1280
(98.3%)
1342
(97.1%)
2622 (97.7%)
1266
(97.2%)
1377 (99.6%)
2643
(98.5%)
Com
p
arison
χ
2
(
1
)
=4.311,
p
=.04, ,
η
=.04
χ
2
(
1
)
=25.739,
p
<.001,
η
=.098
Received unprovoked erotic
advances from online acquaintance
Made unprovoked erotic advances to
someone I only knew online
Yes
34
(
2.6%
)
109
(
7.9%
)
143 (5.3%) 38 (2.9%) 5 (0.4%) 43 (1.6%)
No
1268
(97.4%)
1273
(92.1%)
2541 (94.7%)
1264
(97.1%)
1377 (99.6%)
2641
(98.4%)
Com
p
arison
χ
2
(
1
)
=36.994
p
<.001,
η
=.117
χ
2
(
1
)
=27.801,
p
<.001,
η
=.102
I was bullied in another manner I bullied in another manner
Yes
17
(
1.3%
)
33
(
2.4%
)
50 (1.9%) 16 (1.2%) 6 (0.4%) 22 (0.8%)
No
1285
(
98.7%
)
1349
(
97.6%
)
2634 (98.1%)
1286
98.8%
1376 (99.6%)
2662
(
99.2%
)
Com
p
arison
χ
2
(
1
)
=4.294,
p
=.038, ,
η
=.04
χ
2
(
1
)
=5.208,
p
=.022,
η
=.044
G. Floros et al. / Cyberbullying in Cyprus – Associated Parenting Style and Psychopathology88
Figure 1. Graphical representation of mean values of parental bonding factors across all types of bullying
experiences
3. Conclusion
Cyberbullying is a two-faced construct; those who perpetrate it may have been victims
themselves before and vice-versa. Since electronic means for bullying offer an
asymmetry of force, they may be reciprocally employed by those targeted in the first
place. Stopping this vicious circle is essential in any preventive effort. The negative
consequences in an adolescent associated with cyberbullying are grave and there’s also
a need to broaden the scope with a renewed push for better parenting practices as well.
References
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... When it comes to perpetrating cyberbullying, deficiencies or avoidance of communication between the child and the parents or the family in general are associated with the child's tendency for perpetrating cyberbullying (Floros et al., 2013). As with traditional forms of peer violence, authoritarian parenting style is associated with the commission of cyberbullying (Floros et al., 2013). ...
... When it comes to perpetrating cyberbullying, deficiencies or avoidance of communication between the child and the parents or the family in general are associated with the child's tendency for perpetrating cyberbullying (Floros et al., 2013). As with traditional forms of peer violence, authoritarian parenting style is associated with the commission of cyberbullying (Floros et al., 2013). Furthermore, it was shown that frequent punishment or excessive indulgence of parents are correlated with perpetration, but also exposure to cyberbullying (Velki & Kuterovac Jagodić, 2014). ...
... While an authoritarian parenting style proved to be an important predictor of perpetrating traditional peer violence and cyberbullying (Georgiou et al., 2013, Floros et al., 2013 Considering school and peer factors, children who are perpetrating traditional peer violence and cyberbullying have lower academic achievement (Bradshaw et al., 2013, Kowalski & Limber, 2013, poorer school affection (Alika, 2012, Kowalski & Limber, 2013 and friends who encourage aggressive behaviour (Velki & Vrdoljak, 2013, Festl et al., 2013. Children with poorer quality of relationships with friends are at risk of peer victimization (Slonje & Smith, 2008). ...
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... In relation to victimization, 5 (33%) studies reported a positive associa- tion, 5 (34%) of studies reported a non significant association and 5 (33%) studies a negative association. The variables considered were: parental overprotection (e.g., Floros, Paradeisioti, et al., 2013;Floros, Siomos, Fisoun, Dafouli, & Geroukalis, 2013;Georgiou, 2008;Hokoda, Lu, & Angeles, 2006;Mohebbi, Mirnasab, & Wiener, 2016), low au- tonomy and permissive parenting (e.g., Ayas, 2012, Alizadeh Maralani et al., 2016Fousiani et al., 2016;Garaigordobil & Machimbarrena, 2017;G?mez-Ortiz et al., 2014;Idsoe et al., 2008;Luk et al., 2016;. Overall the risk role of overprotection for bullying and victimization is not clear. ...
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The review investigates the role played by contextual family processes, relational processes and parental individual processes on bullying and victimization. A systematic review has been conducted in five databases (Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, PubMed, ERIC) from 1970 through November 2017. Finally, 154 studies were reviewed differentiating among the three levels of family processes. The majority of the studies addressed single or multiple variables at the same level of analysis. Only 25% of studies focused on the interplay between different levels of family functioning. Our review finds evidence about the role of contextual family variables (parental mental health and domestic violence) and of relational family variables (in particular child abuse and neglect, maladaptive parenting, communication, parental involvement and support). A lower and more controversial evidence has been showed about the role of individual parental variables such as parental self-efficacy, parental attitudes toward victimization and parental knowledge about bullying.
... This result may be explained by the studies that have reported significant associations of different personality disorders with different negative factors that may lead to CBP such as violent behavior (Garofalo and Wright 2017;Howard 2015;Ostrowsky 2010), emotional impulsiveness (Howard and Khalifa 2016), neuroticism, disagreeableness (Watson 1998), antagonism, psychoticism (Hopwood et al. 2013), aggression, anger, hostility (Velotti et al. 2016), and higher risk of psychological violence (Ten Have et al. 2014). Recent studies also demonstrate that cyberbullying is associated with psychopathological traits (Aboujaoude et al. 2015;Floros et al. 2013;Kokkinos et al. 2014), and the dark triad (Baughman et al. 2012;Goodboy and Martin 2015). These kinds of dysfunctions in personality and various symptoms of personality disorders may lead students to engage in problematic relationships in virtual platforms. ...
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