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Psicothema, 2012. Vol. Vol. 24 (nº 4). 640-645

Investigating legal aspects of cyberbullying

Simone Paul, Peter K. Smith and Herbert H. Blumberg

University of London

In the UK schools are required by law to protect students from bullying; the responsibility of teachers to govern such behaviour has been extended outside the school setting to include cyberbullying. In this investigation, cyberbullying in secondary education is explored from the student perspective using a qualitative method of enquiry. Reported awareness and understanding about the legal aspects of cyberbullying are investigated; consideration is given to legislation, cybercrime, children’s rights, school sanctions and safeguarding responsibilities. A total of 197 male and female students aged between 11 and 14 years old participated. Despite the availability of information on guidelines and legislation at national, local, and school level, this does not appear to have reached ground level of the individual student. There is a considerable gap between what students should know and what they report to be aware of with regard to legal aspects of cyberbullying. To address concerns of keeping up with the pace of change in cyberbullying, a collaborative approach is required with young people and adults sharing expertise.

Investigando aspectos legales en cyberbullying. En el Reino Unido las escuelas están obligadas por ley a proteger a los estudiantes de la intimidación. La responsabilidad de los maestros para gobernar ese comportamiento se ha extendido fuera del entorno escolar para incluir el acoso cibernético. En esta investigación, el ciberacoso en la Educación Secundaria es explorada desde la perspectiva del alumno mediante un método cualitativo de investigación. Se investigó el grado de conciencia y de comprensión de los escolares sobre los aspectos legales del acoso cibernético, teniendo en cuenta aspectos como la legislación, los delitos informáticos, los derechos de los escolares, las sanciones y responsabilidades de salvaguarda. Participaron en el estudio un total de 197 estudiantes de ambos sexos con edades comprendidas entre 11 y 14 años. A pesar de la disponibilidad de la información relativa a las directrices y la legislación a nivel nacional, local y a nivel de escuela, esto no parece haber alcanzado el nivel de cada estudiante. Existe una brecha considerable entre lo que los estudiantes deben saber y lo que informan estar al tanto de lo que se refiere a los aspectos jurídicos del acoso cibernético. Para abordar las preocupaciones de mantenerse al día en el acoso cibernético se requiere un enfoque colaborativo entre los jóvenes y los adultos que comparten conocimientos.


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