Adolescent Cyberbullying in New Zealand and the Implications of Parenting Styles
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The primary aim of the current study was to examine cyberbullying and risk taking behaviours in adolescents and their relation to parenting styles. Research aims included examining the prevalence of cell phone ownership, and the development of a parenting scale to assess modern parenting patterns, such as Helicopter and Uninvolved. Adolescents (n = 85) aged 13-16 years from a range of secondary schools, and their parents (n = 58), were assessed on measures of cyberbullying, risk taking behaviour and parenting. Results indicated that the majority of adolescents own or have access to a cell phone and predominantly use it to contact friends. Support was found for the proposed parenting scale, assessing Helicopter and Uninvolved parenting. Further examination of parenting styles within the current sample indicated that Authoritative parenting was the most common parenting style. The current study found that 98% of adolescents engaged in one or more cyberbullying behaviours with an average frequency of 17 times per month. Written-Verbal forms of cyberbullying were found to be the most common type. Cyberbullying was found to be associated with the time per day spent on a cell phone, household annual income, age, parental employment and risk taking behaviours. Results also indicated that 72% of adolescents engaged in one or more risk taking behaviours, with the average frequency of three per month. Authoritative parenting was found to predict lower levels of cyberbullying, while Permissive parenting predicted higher levels of risk taking behaviour. The findings that parenting styles are predictive of cyberbullying and risk taking behaviour may have important implications for the advocacy of appropriate parenting practices through imparting advice, knowledge and support to families and ensuring early intervention, support and monitoring, to safeguard the well-being of adolescents.