The relationship between gender and perceived cyber-bullying behavior
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Technology has changed the way people live, work, and socialize, including the way people bully (Akbulut, Sahin, & Eristi, 2010; Dilmac, 2009; Walker, Sockman, & Koehn, 2011). According to Walker et al. (2011), the prevalence of cyber-bullying in our society has brought the long-lasting detrimental effects on victims to the forefront. Feelings of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts have been described by victims of bullying (Walker et al., 2011). This cross-sectional research investigated gender differences in the perception of cyber-bullying behaviors by surveying 140 college students at a small, Midwestern university. Using the symbolic interaction theory, we hypothesized that male and female college students would interpret cyber-bullying behaviors differently because genders are socialized differently (Strong, DeVault, & Cohen, 2008). Survey data was analyzed using frequencies, cross-tabulations, mean-comparisons, independent t-tests, and a reliability analysis. Results indicated significant gender differences in four out of the ten variables. Implications for practitioners will include creating effective education and prevention programs which address the wide range of cyber-bullying behaviors and the gender differences in the perception of these behaviors. Future research would benefit from a large and randomized sample as well as qualitative interviews to capture the lived experience of cyber-bullying.