Understanding the Prevalence and Forms of Cyber Bullying at Univen: A Pilot Study

 

Bullying is a phenomenon which is as old as the human race. However, with the advent of new Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) new forms of bullying, commonly known as cyber bullying, have developed in society. The phenomenon is perceived by many to be a deviant practice among adolescents and teenagers in environments such as schools and colleges. Much academic work on cyber bullying has focused on school children, yet in institutions of higher learning such as universities show that cyber bullying has also become a noticeable problem, worthy of study. Using the Routine Activity Theory (RAT), this article explores the prevalence and forms of cyber bullying at the University of Venda (UNIVEN), a historically disadvantaged, rural-based institution of higher learning, which is still facing various capacity and infrastructural challenges. Key data that form the basis of this article were collected through a structured questionnaire from a sample of 2014 first year students at UNIVEN. The findings revealed high levels of cyber bullying among UNIVEN first year students. The study findings also revealed a need for more research on the phenomenon in order to establish the causes, effects and possible solutions to this growing scourge at UNIVEN.