Digital harassment and cyberbullying – A new work environmental risk in schools
About the project
Digital harassment and cyberbullying are examples of digitalisation’s negative effects on work environment and health. The phenomenon has been actualised in the light of increased digitalisation of working life and society at large and is a problem that can be presumed to grow. Harassing behaviour through digital channels such as e-mail, SMS or social media occurs against various professional groups, but school administrators and teachers have been identified as particularly affected.
Teachers and school administrators have a strenuous organizational and social work environment with major challenges in relation to threats and violence (AFA Försäkring, 2018). The handling of aggressions from organisational outsiders (clients, consumers, students, parents) within human service organizations has almost doubled between 2010 and 2015, and the increase is mainly in the school system (Eurofond, 2015).
One reason is digitalisation which, in addition to creating increased accessibility of school principals and teachers, offers parents and pupils a new way of communicating. Doxing on social media as well as critically-worded e-mails and text messages from parents after working hours is thus a new risk area for the school staff's work environment.
Digital harassment and cyberbullying occur in the relationship between human, organization and technology; whereby traditional methods of preventing workplace bullying are insufficient. While the prevalence and negative effects of cyberbullying are known, there are no scientifically established methods for preventing and managing cyberbullying in workplaces when they occur.
The project aims to:
- create an increased understanding of the complexity of digital harassment and cyberbullying through interviews and focus groups with school leaders, teachers, parents of pupils and pupils
- based on the result, develop generally viable methods to counter and create readiness for digital harassment and cyberbullying in schools