Spanish Youth Perceptions About Cyberbullying: Qualitative Research into Understanding Cyberbullying and the Role That Parents Play in Its Solution

  • Raúl NavarroEmail author
  • Cristina Serna


A large amount of research in cyberbullying has been conducted in recent years. However, research has prioritized quantitative analysis rather than qualitative ones, even when a qualitative perspective allows focusing on the group dynamics that characterized these negative online interactions. The present study aims to learn the meanings that young Spanish people confer to cyberbullying using focus groups. One hundred and eight (55 females, 53 males) Spanish primary and secondary education students aged 10–16 years participated. Although participants understand bullying and cyberbullying to be interrelated phenomena, they perceived cyberbullying as an aggressive behavior characterized by greater anonymity and by greater difficulty of empathizing with victims and more widespread public repercussion. Definitions given by participants did not always match the criteria previously established by cyberbullying researchers, such as intention, repetition, harm, and imbalance of power. Some of the participants viewed cyberbullying as a result of a previous conflict where perpetrators and victims interchange their roles during the harassment process. According to participants, the point of these behaviors is to inflict pain and instill fear, feel superior, obtain something, or seek revenge, but they also viewed cyberbullying as an entertainment act. Coping strategies exposed by participants coincided with other studies (managing, coping, blocking, saving evidence, social support), which reconfirms preference for peers rather than adults when seeking support. We conclude that there is a need for more research in order to understand the meanings that youngsters confer to cyberbullying. We also point out the necessary educational actions for identifying how students talk about coping strategies and their views about the role that parents play in cyberbullying prevention and intervention.


Cyberbullying Qualitative Childhood Adolescence Parents Aggression Perceptions 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education and HumanitiesUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaCuencaSpain
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Castilla-La Mancha, Faculty of Social WorkCuencaSpain

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