Understanding bullying from young people’s perspectives: an exploratory study

Case Studies & Research
p. 414-433
Periodical title
Educational Research, vol. 62, issue 4

Common definitions of bullying, employed in research and public policy alike, are generally based on adult-imposed categories. To account for students’ needs in school, research should aim to include their voices more often. However, a major challenge for educational research in general, and bullying research in particular, is finding methods that enable students to participate in the discussion. The aim of this study was to further the understanding of bullying and provide insights by examining students’ subjective viewpoints about bullying. Based on the findings, the study draws attention to the need for adults to maintain a focus on students’ behaviours offline, as well as online: in this highly digital age, it is easy for the offline context to be inadvertently overlooked. When it comes to younger students, anti-bullying efforts targeting bullying in private settings and acknowledging potential harm may be more suitable than anti-bullying efforts targeting stigma and shame, which may, in turn, better support the needs of older students. The study also shines a light on the importance of using participatory methodologies that allow students to express their own perspectives.

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