Participate / Doctoral Network

Preventing Cyberbullying: the Role of Parents

Parental Engagement in Cyberbullying Prevention

A new international research project aims to uncover the pivotal role parents can play in preventing cyberbullying, a responsibility often underestimated.

Parental Engagement in Cyberbullying Prevention - Project PARTICIPATE

Cyberbullying in Norwegian Schools

Bullying remains a significant issue in Norwegian schools, with recent NTNU estimates indicating that 58,000 children are affected. Both victims and perpetrators face severe social, health, and behavioral challenges. Professor Hildegunn Fandrem from the Centre for Learning Environment stresses the urgency of addressing this problem collaboratively to reduce bullying rates.

The Rise of Cyberbullying

Professor Fandrem highlights the increasing prevalence of cyberbullying, as evidenced by the Norwegian Pupil Survey, which shows a near doubling of cyberbullying incidents among Year 7 pupils since 2017. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying reaches a wider audience and is harder for adults to detect. Parents, alongside teachers and schools, play a crucial role in preventing bullying.

Cyberbullying: A Global Challenge

Cyberbullying is a global issue, prompting European researchers to collaborate on the “PARTICIPATE” project. This initiative explores the role of parents in cyberbullying prevention, focusing on diversity factors such as ethnicity and gender orientation. Professor Fandrem, leading the Norwegian segment, emphasizes the project’s goal of reassessing parental influence in preventing cyberbullying.

Training a New Generation of Researchers

The four-year PARTICIPATE project aims to train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers. These ten PhD candidates from six countries, including three at the University of Stavanger, will investigate various aspects of cyberbullying, such as ethnic minority involvement and parental roles in prevention and intervention. They will also analyze large transnational surveys on cyberbullying.

Enhancing Parental Awareness

Professor Simona Caravita and colleagues have developed a digital intervention to help parents navigate their children’s digital lives, reducing online risks. This Italian-based study revealed that such interventions increase parental awareness and involvement, suggesting their broader adoption. These programs can foster school-parent collaboration, crucial for effective bullying prevention.

Encouraging Parental Involvement

The PARTICIPATE researchers stress that cyberbullying prevention requires a collaborative effort between schools, parents, and other stakeholders. Parents should engage more with their children’s digital activities, monitor online behavior, and discuss online experiences to recognize and address cyberbullying.

“I encourage parents to talk to their children about their online interactions and make them aware of cyberbullying signs,” Fandrem advises.

Adapted from an original article by Maria Gilje Strand

Parental Engagement in Cyberbullying Prevention - Project PARTICIPATE