Abstract: Cyberbullying Perpetration and Victimization of School Teachers and Parents in Times of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Panel-Based Dual-Perspective Approach (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

737P Cyberbullying Perpetration and Victimization of School Teachers and Parents in Times of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Panel-Based Dual-Perspective Approach

Sunday, January 16, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Ruth Berkowitz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, Haifa, Israel
Guy Enosh, Ph.D, Professor, Univetsity of Haifa, Israel
Shay Tzafrir, PhD, Professor, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Naama Bar-On, M.A., PhD student, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Ravit Alfandari, PhD, Social Worker, University of Haifa, Israel
Background and Purpose: Cyberbullying is defined as "an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself." According to this definition, traditional bullying and cyberbullying share three criteria; intentionality, repetition, and use of aggressive behaviors. Cyberspace renders almost everyone defenseless against bullying, defamation, and other aggressive actions. Rates of cyberbullying perpetration and victimization among school-students ranges between 3%-50%, depending on method of measurement and sampling.

Most current research on school-based cyberbullying is directed at student-to-student bullying, and is based on a single perspective, that of students. The current study provides the perspectives of teachers and parents, and measures also cyberbullying of teachers. Furthermore, since it was carried-out in a time in which most teaching was conducted online rather than in frontal class, all participants were highly attenuated to cyberspace.

Methods: Data for this study come from longitudinal online panel survey of two sources (samples) in Israel during a period in which most teaching was carried out via virtual cyberspace (zoom) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. The samples were of (1) teachers and (2) parents, of middle- and high-school students. Three waves of data were collected for this study: January 2021, March 2021, and April 2021. The baseline samples consisted of 498 teachers and 999 parents. Second wave response-rates were 83.3% and 88.9%, respectively. Third wave response-rates were 69.1% (of first wave) and 77.2%, respectively. 77% of the parents were females, and 83% of the teachers. Questionnaires used validated instruments of (1) school-climate (reported by both samples), (2) managerial practices (teachers sample), (3) teachers' victimization (teachers sample), (4) aggressive work-culture among teachers (teachers sample), (5) teachers' perpetration against students (parents sample), and (6) parents' perpetration (parents sample), as well as sociodemographic and professional background variables.

Results: Overall, measurements were stable over the three waves in both samples (teachers and parents). The more supportive and caring the school climate, the less prevalent cyberbullying was both from teachers' victimization perspective, and parents' self-reported perpetration. Teachers also associated victimization with lack of boundary-setting and clarity by school-management, and with aggressive work-environment among teachers. From the parents' perspective, self-reported perpetration of cyberbullying against teachers was strongly associated with perceived perpetration by teachers.

Conclusions and Implications: The findings indicate the need for interventions at the school managerial level, creating beneficial school climates, and stopping aggressive behaviors among and by teachers, in order to reduce overall cyberbullying in school cyberspace and virtual communities. Such interventions can be carried out at the state policy level, as well as locally, by guidance from school-based social workers.