Cyberbullying among high school learners in Zimbabwe: Motives and effects
The influence of communication technology such as social media in Zimbabwean high schools has immensely contributed to cyberbullying among learners. The study sought to establish the motives and effects of cyberbullying among high school learners. The study triangulated both qualitative and quantitative research methodology. The study sample was made up of 3 teachers and 60 learners. The teachers participated in key informant interviews whilst learners responded to questionnaires. Of the 60 learners, 30 were further selected to participate in three focus group discussions each comprising of 10 learners in order to gain an in-depth qualitative reflection of the larger sample's experiences. The motives for cyberbullying among high school learners included differences, peer pressure, exposure to violent media, intimate relationships, fun and boredom, low self-esteem and jealous whereas the effects of cyberbullying were reported to be poor mental health, low school attendance rate, emotional instability, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, truancy and bad relationships among the learners. The study established that there is need for high school learners to be educated on safe and healthy methods of using information communication technologies. Learners’ online activities have to be monitored both at home and school so as to create a cyber-bullying free learning environment.