Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 1625–1635 | Cite as

Traditional Versus Internet Bullying in Junior High School Students

  • Rosa Gofin
  • Malka Avitzour


To examine the prevalence of traditional and Internet bullying and the personal, family, and school environment characteristics of perpetrators and victims. Students (12–14 years old) in 35 junior high schools were randomly selected from the Jerusalem Hebrew (secular and religious) and Arab educational system (n = 2,610). Students answered an anonymous questionnaire, addressing personal, family, and school characteristics. Traditional bullying and Internet bullying for perpetrators and victims were categorized as either occurring at least sometimes during the school year or not occurring. Twenty-eight percent and 8.9 % of students were perpetrators of traditional and Internet bullying, respectively. The respective proportions of victims were 44.9 and 14.4 %. Traditional bullies presented higher Odds Ratios (ORs) for boys, for students with poor social skills (those who had difficulty in making friends, were influenced by peers in their behavior, or were bored), and for those who had poor communication with their parents. Boys and girls were equally likely to be Internet bullies and to use the Internet for communication and making friends. The OR for Internet bullying victims to be Internet bullying perpetrators was 3.70 (95 % confidence interval 2.47–5.55). Victims of traditional bullying felt helpless, and victims of traditional and Internet bullying find school to be a frightening place. There was a higher OR of Internet victimization with reports of loneliness. Traditional bully perpetrators present distinctive characteristics, while Internet perpetrators do not. Victims of traditional and Internet bullying feel fear in school. Tailored interventions are needed to address both types of bullying.


Bullying Internet Junior high schools Adolescents Israel 



This work was supported by a grant from the Sapir Fund, Israel. We thank Gleb Haynatzki, PhD, for his statistical advice.


  1. 1.
    Prevention of violence: a public health priority [Internet]. Geneva, Switzerland: Forty-ninth World Health Assembly; 20–25 May 1996 [cited February 2012]. Available from:
  2. 2.
    Krug, E., Dahlberg, L. L., Mercy, J. A., Zwi, A. B., & Lozano, R. (Eds.). (2002). World report on violence and health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pinhero, P. S. (2006). Report of the independent expert from the United Nations study on violence against children [Internet]. New York: World Health Organization [cited February 2012]. Available from:
  4. 4.
    Olweus, D. (1994). Bullying at school. Basic facts and effects of a school based intervention program. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 1171–1190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Craig, W., Harel-Fisch, Y., Fogel-Grinwald, H., et al. (2009). A cross-national profile of bullying and victimization among adolescents in 40 countries. International Journal of Public Health, 54(Suppl 2), 216–224.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Khoury-Kassabri, M. (2009). The relationship between staff maltreatment of students and bully-victim group membership. Child Abuse and Neglect, 33, 914–923.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Khoury-Kassabri, M. (2011). Student victimization by peers in elementary schools: Individual, teacher-class, and school-level predictors. Child Abuse and Neglect, 35, 273–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Berkowitz, R., & Benbenishty, R. (2012). Perceptions of teachers’ support, safety, and absence from school because of fear among victims, bullies, and bully-victims. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82, 67–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M. D., Pilla, R. S., et al. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA, 285, 2094–2100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Spriggs, A. L., Iannotti, R. J., Nansel, T. R., et al. (2007). Adolescent bullying involvement and perceived family peer and school relations: Commonalities and differences across race/ethnicity. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, 283–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stein, J. A., Dukes, R. L., & Warren, J. I. (2006). Adolescent male bullies, victims, and bully-victims: A comparison of psychological and behavioral characteristics. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 273–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fitzpatrick, K. M., Dulin, A. J., & Piko, B. F. (2007). Not just pushing and shoving: School bullying among African American adolescents. Journal of School Health, 77, 16–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nansel, T. R., Craig, W., Overpeck, M. D., et al. (2004). Cross-national consistency in the relationship between bullying behaviors and psychosocial adjustment. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 158, 730–736.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eslea, M., Menesini, E., Morita, Y., et al. (2003). Friendship and loneliness among bullies and victims: Data from seven countries. Aggressive Behavior, 30, 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sourander, A., Jensen, P., Davies, M., et al. (2007). Who is at greater risk of adverse long-term outcomes? The Finnish from a boy to a man study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46, 1148–1161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sourander, A., Jensen, P., Ronning, J. A., et al. (2007). Childhood bullies and victims and their risk of criminality in late adolescence. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161, 546–552.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Arsenault, L., Walsh, E., Trzesniewski, K., et al. (2006). Bullying victimization uniquely contributes to adjustment problems in young children: A national representative cohort study. Pediatrics, 118, 130–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fekkes, M., Pijpers, F. I. M., Frederiks, M., et al. (2006). Do bullied children get ill, or do ill children get bullied? A prospective cohort study on the relationship between bullying and health-related symptoms. Pediatrics, 117, 1568–1574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Arseneault, L., Bowes, L., & Shakoor, S. (2010). Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems: ‘Much ado about nothing’? Psychological Medicine, 40, 717–729.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Due, P., Damsgaard, M. T., Lund, R., et al. (2009). Is bullying equally harmful for rich and poor children?: A study of bullying and depression from age 15 to 27. European Journal of Public Health, 19, 464–469.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Internet World Stats. Accessed February 2012.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2004). Online aggressor/targets, aggressors, and targets: A comparison of associated youth characteristics. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1308–1316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2004). Youth engaging in online harassment: Association with caregiver-child relationships, Internet use, and personal characteristics. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 319–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ybarra, M. L., Mitchell, K. J., Wolak, J., et al. (2006). Examining characteristics and associated distress related to Internet harassment: Findings from the second Youth Internet Safety Survey. Pediatrics, 118, e1169–e1177.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ybarra, M. L., Diener-West, M., & Leaf, P. L. (2007). Examining the overlap in Internet harassment and school bullying: Implications for school intervention. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(6 Suppl 1), S42–S50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., Wolak, J., et al. (2011). Youth Internet victimization in a broader victimization context. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48, 128–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Williams, K. R., & Guerra, N. G. (2007). Prevalence and predictors of Internet bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(6 Suppl 1), S14–S21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Raskaukas, J., & Stoltz, A. D. (2007). Involvement in traditional and electronic bullying among adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 43, 564–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kessel Shneider, S., O’Donnell, L., Stueve, A., et al. (2012). Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 102, 171–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., & Nansel, T. R. (2009). School bullying among adolescents in the United States: Physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 368–375.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Chisholm, J. F. (2006). Cyberspace violence against girls and adolescent females. Ann NY Acad Sci, 1087, 74–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wang, J., Iannoti, R. J., & Luk, J. W. (2010). Bullying victimization among underweight and overweight U.S. youth: Differential associations for boys and girls. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47, 99–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Didden, R., Scholte, R. H., Korzilius, H., et al. (2009). Cyberbullying among students with intellectual and developmental disability in special education settings. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 12, 146–151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ybarra, M. L. (2004). Linkages between depressive symptomatology and Internet harassment among young regular Internet users. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7, 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Mishna, F., Cook, C., Gadalla, T., et al. (2010). Cyber bullying behaviors among middle and high school students. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80, 362–374.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Twyman, K., Saylor, C., Taylor, L. A., & Comeaux, C. (2010). Comparing children and adolescents engaged in cyberbullying to matched peers. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13, 195–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Wang, J., Nansel, T. R., & Iannotti, R. J. (2011). Cyber and traditional bullying: Differential association with depression. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48, 415–417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Perren, S., Dooley, J., Shaw, T., et al. (2010). Bullying in school and cyberspace: Associations with depressive symptoms in Swiss and Australian adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health [cited February 2012];4(28). Available from:
  39. 39.
    Bayraktar, F. (2011). Bullying among adolescents in North Cyprus and Turkey: Testing a multifactor model. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2011 Dec 26; doi: 10.1177/0886260511424502.
  40. 40.
    Harel, Y., Kanny, D., Rahav, G. (1997). Youth in Israel: Social wellbeing health and risk behaviors from an international perspective. Jerusalem: JDC-Brookdale Institute and Bar Ilan University Press (In Hebrew).Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    SPSS for Windows. Version 14.0.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Wolak, J. W., Mitchell, K. J., & Finkelhor, D. (2007). Does online harassment constitute bullying? An exploration of online harassment by known and online only contacts. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(6 Suppl 1), S51–S58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Chaux, E., Molano, A., & Podlesky, P. (2009). Socio-economic, socio-political and socio-emotional variables explaining school bullying: A country-wide multilevel analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 520–529.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Harel-Fisch, Y., Walsh, S. D., Fogel-Grinvald, H., Amitai, G., et al. (2011). Negative school perceptions and involvement in school bullying: A universal relationship across 40 countries. Journal of Adolescent, 34, 639–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Smith, P., Mahdavi, J., Carvalho, M., et al. (2008). Cyberbullying: Its nature and impact in secondary schools. Child Psychol and Psychiatry, 49, 376–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Sawyer, A. L., Bradshaw, C. P., & O’Brennan, L. M. (2008). Examining ethnic, gender, and developmental differences in the way children report being a victim of “bullying” on self-report measures. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43, 106–114.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Mitchell, K. J., Ybarra, M., & Finkelhor, D. (2007). The relative importance of online victimization in understanding depression, delinquency, and substance use. Child Maltreatment, 12, 314–324.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Michaud, P.-A. (2009). Bullying: We need to increase our efforts and broaden our focus. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 323–325.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Cuadrado-Gordillo, I. (2011). Repetition, power imbalance, and intentionality: Do these criteria conform to teenagers’ perception of bullying. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2011 Dec 26; doi: 10.1177/0886260511431436.
  50. 50.
    Naylor, P., Cowie, H., Cossin, F., et al. (2006). Teachers’ and pupils’ definitions of bullying. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(pt 3), 553–576.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Hunt, C., Peters, L., Rapee, R. M. (2012). Development of a measure of the experience of being bullied in youth. Psychology Assessment. 2012 Jan 16; doi:  10.1037/a0025178].

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health and Community MedicineHebrew University and Hadassah Medical OrganizationJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations