Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
This descriptive study used preexisting student and parent surveys to examine cyberbullying in two rural middle schools. This study was guided by the social dominance theory, which says that individuals establish themselves in social hierarchies, and by the social-ecological framework theory, which suggests that behavior is influenced by many related systems. This study identified the rates of occurrence of methods used for cyberbullying, types of Internet access available, parental awareness, intervention, and resolution of cyberbullying issues. A simple random sample of 162 parents and 213 students completed the survey. Compared to national results, more local students (9.9%) admitted cyberbullying in the past 30 days, and more local survey students (14.1%) reported being cyberbullied in the past 30 days. For 9 of the 18 methods of cyberbullying examined, chi-square tests revealed that the local usage rates were significantly higher than national rates. Results from the parent survey suggested that parents were aware of the use of social media and that cyberbullying was taking place. Of those surveyed, 24% reported some knowledge of cyberbullying, and 75.6% of parents were concerned that their children could be cyberbullied. Results of this survey study helped in designing a project action plan to educate, to provide professional development for teachers, and to offer parent workshops to assist with preventing cyberbullying. Efforts to accomplish a positive social change may evolve after successful implementation of anti-cyberbullying programs in the middle schools.