Gender differences in cyber-bullying among first-year University of Venda students
Most people anticipate bullying as a childhood issue that children will finally outgrow but bullies are growing up and penetrating university campuses. The growing of technology has allowed bullying to be taken to adulthood through cyber-bullying. Technology has become a big part of young people’s lives and it plays an increasingly important role in their day-today activities. However, it has also become a platform for young people to bully each other. Cyber-bullying has become a serious problem for university students and can cause long term effects to victims. It involves sending hurtful, threatening or embarrassing messages to another person. Cyber-bullying causes problems such as depression, anxiety, suicide, poor school attendance and performance for the victims of such an act. Both males and females take part in cyber-bullying. Avenues for students cyber-bullying include emails, blogs, text messages, and social network sites such as Facebook, My Space, Whatsapp, Instagram and twitter. The main aim of this study was to find out gender differences in cyber-bullying. The study was taken at the University of Venda. The qualitative research approach was used and semi-structured interviews were used as the data collecting tool. Snow ball sampling, a subtype of non-probability sampling, was used to select the respondents for the study. Data was analysed through thematic analysis. Ethical considerations that were followed include confidentiality, anonymity, voluntary participation and informed consent. The study found out that cyber-bullying is prevalent at the University of Venda and it affects both female and male students. Female students seem to be major cyber-victims and male students were the main cyber-bullies. It was concluded that the university needed to draft rules that help detect and also contain the spread of cyber-bulling. Moreover there was need for running awareness campaigns that will help students know the dangers involved in cyber-bullying.
Key words: Cyber-Bullying, Cyber-Victims, Cyber-Bullies, Probe, Technology, Harass, Students, Cyber-Victims