The curse of cellphone bullies

This week’s Scibraai Monday Menu focuses on a worrying issue: mobile or cellphone bullying, and its occurrence in Western Cape high schools.

CyberbullyingCyberbullies – and those who use cell phones in particular – are more prevalent in the Western Cape’s public schools located in high safety risk areas and without anti-bullying policies than in any others in the province. Furthermore, they operate under a cloak of anonymity thanks to increased improvements in technology. That is some of the findings from research by Michael Kyobe, Grant Oosterwyk and Oluyomi Kabiawu of the University of Cape Town, published in the The African Journal of Information Systems.

They surveyed 3621 scholars to examine the nature and influence cyberbullying committed in Western Cape high schools using cellphones.

The findings suggest that the use of mobile phones could have greater cyber-bullying effect than the use of other electronic devices.

“Service providers should work together with schools in finding technical ways of preventing misuse of the devices and applications they provide,” writes Kyobe and his colleagues.

The research offers school principals, education departments, communities, service providers and regulators enhanced knowledge with which to deal with mobile bullying issues. The conceptual model developed can be a useful guide in developing solutions to the problem.

The researchers believe there is a need to create awareness of the risks of mobile bullying in schools and develop policy on how to deal with it.

To download the full article, follow this link.

Reference:  Kyobe, M.E. et al (2016). The Nature Of Mobile Bullying & Victimisation In The Western Cape High Schools of South Africa Michael, The African Journal of Information Systems

Engela Duvenage

Co-founder of Day job: Science writer and science communicator who loves turning research papers into news stories. Claim to fame: mother of two daughters; winner of the Izethelo Award for Outstanding Journalism (2016) from the South African fruit industry, and winner of the best technical article award (2016) as presented by the South African Agricultural Writers' Association Background: MPhil (Journalism, specialising in science journalism) and HonsBA (Psychology).

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