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Bullying and Self-Injury. Emma-Jayne Brown. Bullying . Bullied adolescents report higher levels of self-injury. Prevalence Internationally 10%-75% experience traditional victimisation at some point (e.g. Demaray & Malecki, 2003; Storch et al., 2002)

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Bullying and self injury

Bullying and Self-Injury

Emma-Jayne Brown


  • Bullied adolescents report higher levels of self-injury.

  • Prevalence

    • Internationally

      • 10%-75% experience traditional victimisation at some point (e.g. Demaray & Malecki, 2003; Storch et al., 2002)

      • 5%-25% experience cybervictimisation (e.g. Hinduja & Patchin, 2012; Brank et al., 2012)

    • NZ

      • 27%-75% experience traditional victimisation at some point (e.g. Coggan et al., 2003; Garisch & Wilson, 2010)

      • 3%-6% experience cybervictimisation (e.g. Fenaulty, 2010)

    • Our study (n=210)

      • 42% experienced traditional bullying

      • 4% experienced cyberbullying often


  • Those involved in traditional bullying are more likely to be involved in cyberbullying (e.g. Jose, 2011)

  • Up to 60% of cyber-victims are also traditional-victims (e.g. Schneider et al., 2012).

Myths about bullying
Myths about bullying

  • It occurs between a bully and a victim

  • It is impossible to stop bullying

  • Anti-bullying policies are ineffective

  • Bullying prevention and intervention are complicated and expensive

Myths about bullying1
Myths about bullying

  • Bullies suffer from insecurity and low self-esteem

  • Bullies are looking for attention – ignore them and the bullying will stop

  • Boys will be boys

  • Kids can be cruel about differences

  • Victims need to learn to stand up for themselves and deal with the situation

  • Most bullying occurs outside of school

  • Bullying affects only a small number of students

  • Teachers know if bullying is a problem in their classes

  • “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names can never hurt you”

The effects of being bullied
The effects of being bullied


Negative family relationships




Lack of friends

Poor academic performance


e.g. Depression

Poor emotion regulation Suicidal ideation & attempts

What about cyber victimisation
What about cyber-victimisation?

  • Research is inconsistent

    • Same impact as traditional (e.g. Brank et al., 2012)

    • Less impact than traditional (e.g. Patchin & Hindjua, 2006)

      • Threat not immediate or face-to-face

    • More impact than traditional (e.g. Smith et al., 2008; Drogin & Young, 2008; Bonanno & Hymel, 2013)

How is cyberbullying different
How is cyberbullying different?

  • Anonymity

    • Bullies less aware of the impact of their behaviour

    • Increases fear and mistrust in victims (Sticca & Perren, 2013)

  • Access to victims

    • At any place or time of the day or night

  • Wider audiences

    • Can be circulated through many social networks

  • Distinction between bully and victim less clear (Law et al., 2012)

    • Might influence why some individuals are unaffected

Protective factors
Protective factors

  • Friends

    • Having a best friend decreases both victimisation and the negative effects of it (Bollmer et al., 2005)

  • Family

    • Showing lots of love

    • Being supportive – open communication, active listening

    • Providing freedom – developing social skills and circles

    • Encouraging assertiveness when necessary

    • Modelling behaviour

How to spot signs of bullying
How to spot signs of bullying

  • Refusing to go to school or making excuses to not be at school

  • Expressing fear of school or saying “I hate school”

  • Becoming more isolated from others at school

  • Start doing poorly at school

  • Show noticeable changes in behaviour or emotions

  • Having lower self-confidence or self-esteem

  • Becomes sad, angry, or distressed during/after internet or phone use

  • Appears anxious when receiving a text or facebook

  • Avoids discussion or is secretive about cell phone and internet activities

What can we do to prevent cyberbullying
What can we do to prevent cyberbullying?

  • Netsafe

    • Information and tips about cyberbullying for

      • Young people – increasing cyber-safety, telling someone you trust

      • Teachers – promoting responsible and safe use, creating a classroom pledge to be positive bystanders

      • Parents – talking about cyberbullying with their kids and teaching safe internet use

      • Peers – actively standing against bullying, being positive bystanders

The school s role
The school’s role?

  • Avoid labeling students as bullies and victims

    • consider multiple explanations for bullying behaviours

  • A Whole-School Approach

  • Focus more widely on creating a caring and respectful school climate and positive outcomes

  • Promote social and emotional learning

  • Have a long-term ongoing focus and specific plans


  • Netsafe – cyberbullying website

    • http://www.cyberbullying.org.nz/

  • Stop Bullying website

    • http://www.stopbullying.gov/

  • Wellbeing@School: Building a safe and caring school climate that deters bullying.

    • http://www.wellbeingatschool.org.nz/sites/default/files/Wellbeing-at-School-overview-paper.pdf