Using young peoples’ lived experiences to explore definitional characteristics for cyberbullying

Claire Hawkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Applying established definitions of bullying to the more recent phenomenon of cyberbullying often results in an ill-fitting definition which is contested by academics. There are particular difficulties when applying the well-documented facets of intentional harm, repetition and power imbalance to the context of online bullying. A contested definition presents challenges when comparing studies and for building theory. This qualitative study investigates defining characteristics of cyberbullying, drawing on the lived experiences of young people (aged 11–17 years) situated in the north west of England. Young people’s experiences point to a more nuanced experience with different characteristics incorporating: the intention to harm or humiliate; that the victim cannot escape from the activities perpetrated against them; an attempt to transfer power from the victim; and the perpetrator hides behind the screen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPastoral Care in Education
Issue number4
Early online date11 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2023


  • Cyberbullying
  • definition
  • youth perception
  • lived experience
  • adolescent

Research Groups

  • Pedagogy and Curriculum Research Network


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