Background of the study
The advancement in technology has led to the evolvement of various human practices, which have improved the living standards of people nowadays. In spite of this, modern technology has led to the growth of various social problems that have enormous consequences in the society. According to Michel and Heirman (2011), while the advancement in technology has improved people’s connectivity, it has also increased emotional stress within the society.
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Nevertheless, the negative impacts of modern technology such as cyberbullying, have received little attention over the recent years. Lauren and Ratliffe (2011) noted that cyberbullying has a lot of emotional impact in the life of leaners such that it adversely affects the overall academic performance of the affected individual. Cyberbullying in schools is on the increase, which can be attributed to the expanding technological advancement.
According to Elizabeth (2010), there has been an increase in the level of emotional stress impact among victims. Even though the rate of cyberbullying in institutions of learning has increased, Watson and Vannini (2010) observed that nothing has been done towards averting the present situation that has been instigated by digitization and modernization. There is a high tendency among cyberbullying victims of remaining silent whenever bullied, a move that escalates the stressful impact of cyberbullying.
Susan, Butler, and Emmison (2011) attribute such reluctance to report cases of cyberbullying to the fear and the associated social stigma. In spite of this, it is the duty of everybody in the society to stand up against cyberbullying as it had adverse effects not only to the victim but also to the entire society at large. This research hopes to provide more insights into the concept of cyberbullying in the society by examining the impacts of cyberbullying in the academic performance of affected individuals in the society.
Statement of the problem
The growth and advancement of the digital space has led to the emergence of cyberbullying, which is an aggressive online behaviour whereby victims suffer from peer aggression (Michel & Heirman, 2011). This research aims at the investigation of the impacts of cyberbullying in academics. Research and analysis show that such bullying has damaging emotional and psychological effects to the victims such that it hinders the academic productivity of learners. Instead of developing the youth, advanced technology has created avenues for more stress on the learners through cyberbullying (Elizabeth, 2010).
For this reason, it is important to provide a thorough research that addresses the issue of cyberbullying in institutions of learning for the purpose of pointing the associated impacts as far as academic performance of cyberbullying victims is concerned. Such a research sets the basis for concrete measures by the parents, teachers, as well as the institutions’ authorities towards providing a lasting solution for cyberbullying menace.
Significance of the study
According to previous studies, there is limited information as far as the subject of the impacts of cyberbullying on the academic performance of learner is concerned (Elizabeth, 2010; Lauren & Ratliffe, 2011). This is attributable to the use of a small sample size or even the generalization of cyberbullying effects without considering the specific impacts on the academic performance of affected learners. For this reason, the study on the impacts of cyberbullying in academic performance of learners will contribute immensely to the existing school of knowledge as far as the subject of cyberbullying and academics is concerned.
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First, the results and findings from this study will provide insights into the effects of cyberbullying on the academic performance of affected learners by carrying out a comparison between traditional bullying and cyberbullying. Second, the study will provide valuable information regarding solving the problem of cyberbullying in schools by highlighting the individual roles of parents, teachers and other authorities in the fight against cyberbullying in the society.
Research aims and objectives
The primary aim of this study is to carry out an analysis of the concept of cyberbullying and academics in order to find out the various effects of cyberbullying on affected learners’ academic performance. As such, the study hopes to fulfil the following research objectives.
- To find out whether or not there is a significant relationship between cyberbullying and academic performance of victims.
- To establish whether or not there is a significance difference between cyberbullying and traditional bullying.
- To critically examine the impacts of cyberbullying in academic performance of affected individuals.
- To find out whether or not parents, teachers and schools’ authorities have any role to play in addressing the problem of cyberbullying in the society.
Mitchel and Jolly (2010) pointed out that research questions act as suitable guidelines in any research by ensuring that all the necessary areas of a given study are covered extensively. For this reason, this study will have a number of research questions to aid in the investigation of the impacts of cyberbullying in academics. The research questions for this study are listed below.
- Is there a significant relationship between cyberbullying and academic performance of affected learners?
- What is the difference between cyberbullying and traditional bullying?
- What are some of the impacts of cyberbullying in academic performance of affected individuals?
- What is the role of parents, teachers and schools’ authorities in addressing the problem of cyberbullying in the society?
Creswell (2009) defines a research design as the process of systematically planning the course of a study by highlighting the various procedures and techniques to be involved in collecting and analysing data in line with the specific study’s objectives.
On the other hand, a study’s methodology includes the procedures and techniques used in any study to collect and analyse data based on a given study phenomenon. The methodology chapter highlights the research methodologies as well as the research design to be adopted in this study to ensure comprehensive coverage of concept under investigation and the eventual achievement of study’s objectives.
The focus of the research on the impacts of cyberbullying in academic performance of learners will be on what has been experienced in the past by various individuals as well as the challenges that parents and educational authorities have faced in addressing cyberbullying. For this reason, the study will use both quantitative and qualitative data. In the case of the quantitative data, the study will review any secondary materials to examine the effects of cyberbullying on academic performance of learners.
Several individuals in the education sector will be interviewed to supplement the information from secondary sources. As such, the study will adopt the descriptive research design based on its significance in indexing study variables, provision of answers to various research questions, as well as its importance in the collection of appropriate data (Mitchel & Jolly, 2010). In addition, the descriptive study design is necessary in this study since large amount of data will be needed in order to have valid and reliable findings.
Target Population for the study
Creswell (2009) pointed out that a study’s target population refers to the total number of units or people that are projected to be used in drawing inferences regarding a given phenomenon under study. In the case of the currents study, the focus is on the academic performance of learners and hence, the study will target public secondary and elementary schools in the US. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2011), there are 98,817 public schools, 132, 183 K-12 schools and 13, 588 public district schools in the United States of America. Based on the scope of the study, such a target population will be suitable for comprehensive collection of data on cyberbullying.
The study will rely on the simple random sampling technique to arrive at the necessary sample size. A research conducted by Mitchel and Jolly (2010) showed that the application of the simple random sampling technique in any study allows for effective inclusiveness of study units or people, giving a researcher the chance of using a representative sample especially where a large sample group is involved. The elementary and secondary schools in United States of America have numerous schools and hence, there is a need for all the schools to have equal probability of representation. The absence of error classification and human bias in the simple random sampling technique makes it suitable for this study.
Additionally, the purposive sampling technique will be used to identify the various individuals to be interviewed. Creswell (2009) noted that the purposive sampling technique is highly dependent on the researcher’s judgment as far as the decision on the individuals to be involved in any study is concerned. In addition, this type of sampling technique will be used here since it fits studies that have a special emphasis on various characteristics of the target population, as evident in the case of the current study.
Methods of collecting data
The study on cyberbullying and academics primarily focuses on the impacts of cyberbullying on the academic performance of learners. To achieve the objectives of the study, the use of the highlighted research questions will be very important. However, suitable methods of data collection will be required for the purpose of collecting comprehensive data. In the light of Denzin and Lincoln (2008), differences in researchers’ strategies and data collection points adversely affect the method of data collection adopted in any study. According to the scope of this study, secondary and primary sources of data collection will be used.
For example, the study will used secondary data collection methods such as archival records that highlight the performance of learners in US. On the other hand, interviews will be used to collect primary data on the impacts of cyberbullying on academic performance of the affected learners.
Interviews, according to Denzin and Lincoln (2008), are better data collection methods especially where personal opinions, perspectives and experiences of study participants are required in a study. In this case, the interviews will comprise of succinct questions that align with the study’s aim and objectives. The data obtained from the interview will be analysed to ascertain whether or not the study’s objectives have been met.
Data analysis is the process of treating collected data qualitatively or quantitatively through various data analysis techniques in order to make inferences based on the objectives of the study. There are a number of methods that can be used to analyse any collected data including regression analysis, correlation analysis among others.
The primary aim of this study to investigate the impacts of cyberbullying in academic performance of learners and hence, excel sheets will be used to analyze and present any collected data in charts and graphs for better understanding. The causal link between the academic performance of learners and cyberbullying impacts will be established based on the analysis. Such analysis will provide avenue to determine whether or not there is a significant relationship between cyberbullying impacts and victims’ academic performance.
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Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and Mixed methods approaches. Thousand oaks, CA: Sage.
Denzin, N., &S Lincoln, Y. (2008). Colllecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Elizabeth, J. (2010). The Prevalence of Cyber Bullying Victimization and Its Relationship to Academic, Social, and Emotional Adjustment among College Students. ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado
Lauren, M., & Ratliffe, K. (2011). Cyber Worlds: New Playgrounds for Bullying. Computers in the Schools, 28(2), pp. 92-116.
Michel, W., & Heirman, W. (2011). Cyber bullying: Predicting Victimisation and Perpetration. Children & Society, 25(1), pp.59-72.
Mitchel, M., & Jolly, J. (2010). Research design explained. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2007). Mapping 2005 state proficiency standards Onto the NAEP Scales. NCES 2007-482. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Susan, D., Butler, C., & Emmison, M. (2011). “Have You Talked with a Teacher Yet?” How Helpline Counsellors Support Young Callers Being Bullied at School. Children & Society, 25(4), pp. 328-339.
Watson, J., & Vannini, N. (2010). Inter-Cultural Differences in Response to a Computer-Based Anti-Bullying Intervention. Educational Research, 52(1), pp. 61- 80.