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Psicothema. 2012 Nov;24(4):640-5.

Investigating legal aspects of cyberbullying.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Unit for School and Family Studies, University of London, New Cross Gate, SE14 6NW, United Kingdom.


In the UK schools are required by law to protect students from bullying; the responsibility of teachers to govern such behaviour has been extended outside the school setting to include cyberbullying. In this investigation, cyberbullying in secondary education is explored from the student perspective using a qualitative method of enquiry. Reported awareness and understanding about the legal aspects of cyberbullying are investigated; consideration is given to legislation, cybercrime, children's rights, school sanctions and safeguarding responsibilities. A total of 197 male and female students aged between 11 and 14 years old participated. Despite the availability of information on guidelines and legislation at national, local, and school level, this does not appear to have reached ground level of the individual student. There is a considerable gap between what students should know and what they report to be aware of with regard to legal aspects of cyberbullying. To address concerns of keeping up with the pace of change in cyberbullying, a collaborative approach is required with young people and adults sharing expertise.

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