Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 377–393 | Cite as

The Nature and Prevalence of Cyber Victimization Among Elementary School Children

  • Kathryn DePaolis
  • Anne Williford
Original Paper



Despite growing concern about the impact of cyberbullying on youth, few studies to date have investigated this phenomenon among elementary school samples. Consequently, little is known about cyber victimization exposure among younger children.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the prevalence and nature of cyber victimization among a sample of elementary school students and determine whether significant differences existed between cyber victimized and non-cyber victimized students.


A total of 660 3rd–5th grade students in six schools completed an online survey on measures of traditional and cyber bullying and victimization. Descriptive statistics were used to determine prevalence, mechanism (e.g., social media), identity of the perpetrator, and whether incidents were reported to others. Fixed effects regression models, including dummy coded school variables to control for nesting, were run to assess group differences.


Descriptive findings revealed that a substantial number of youth (17.7 %; n = 114) reported cyber victimization, predominantly through online games. Only 38 % (n = 43) of cyber victimized children knew the identity of the perpetrator and almost 50 % reported they did not tell anyone about the incident. Results also revealed that cyber victimized children reported significantly higher rates of traditional victimization and bullying involvement along with higher pro-bullying attitudes and lower pro-defending attitudes and self-efficacy for defending others.


The results of the present study suggest the need for developmentally appropriate prevention and intervention programs implemented at the elementary school level if efforts to address this complex problem are to be successful.


Cyber victimization Elementary school children Online games Prevention and intervention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WelfareUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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