Getting involved. Social and technological factors in adolescents' third party responses to cyberbullying

Datum: 11 mei 2016

Locatie: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus, Promotiezaal van de Grauwzusters - Lange St-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen

Tijdstip: 14 uur

Organisatie / co-organisatie: Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen

Promovendus: Sara Bastiaensens

Promotor: Prof. dr. Heidi Vandebosch, prof. dr. Karolien Poels

Korte beschrijving: Doctoraatsverdediging Sara Bastiaensens - Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Departement Communicatiewetenschappen


Previous research on traditional bullying has shown that group processes play an important role in ending or sustaining bullying issues. Bystanders, who witness bullying incidents, have the ability to reinforce the bully or rather support the victim, and can as such affect the bullying process. New media and communication technologies have, however, affected bullying dynamics and the role of the bystander. Focusing on cyberbullying, or bullying through communication technologies, this dissertation aimed to understand different ways in which adolescents can be confronted with cyberbullying as a 'third party'. Its goal was to identify factors that can explain why third-party adolescents react to cyberbullying in a certain way, taking into account both social or group processes and characteristics of communication technologies.

Both prosocial (supporting the victim) and antisocial (reinforcing the bully) third-party responses were investigated in four studies: two studies based on data from a scenario-based experiment, a cross-sectional survey study, and a thematic analysis study of online message threads on cyberbullying, retrieved from online support group fora of youth helpline organisations. Based on the results of the different studies, this dissertation provides recommendations for future research on bystanders of cyberbullying, and for future studies on the role of communication technologies in prosocial and antisocial communication among adolescents. Moreover, implications are provided for intervention- and prevention programmes that aim to tackle cyberbullying, and for social media developers.

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