PEER REJECTION AND SOCIAL NETWORKING AS PREDICTORS OF CYBER BULLYING AMONG ADOLESCENT SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN OTUKPO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF BENUE STATE
Cyber bullying is a common social problem in schools and a public health concern threatening all age groups but students in particular. It is a relatively new phenomenon and has not been extensively researched in some context including Nigeria. Most of the existing studies have focused on the prevalence of it, thereby obscuring the complexity and the danger of it. The main goal of the present study was to examine the relationship between peer rejection and social networking on cyber bullying.The study adopted a cross-sectional survey research design, and simple random sampling technique was used to select 340 secondary school students aged 13 to 19 (M=14.15, SD=1.49) from six randomly selected secondary schools in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State. Three instruments were used: Rejection Sensitivity Scale (RSS); Social Networking Scale (SNS); and Cyber bullying Scale (CBS). Data were analyzed using Hierarchical Multiple Regression. The measures of association between the variables identified in the study revealed that there was not significant relationship between peer rejection and cyber bullying which implies that the severity of rejection depends on one’s perception. Social networking significantly predicted cyber bullying which reveals that higher social networking is associated with greater experiences of cyber bullying. Therefore, it is recommended that individualized interventions for children affected by cyber bullying, either as victims or as bullies, need to be developed to resolve conflict and mitigate negative consequences that may result. Employing a whole system approach is appropriate as it provides a framework of action that can be drawn on when incidents are reported and further creates a systematic intervention that involves the cooperation of all relevant role players and raises the awareness about the importance placed on addressing this issue.