Main Article Content
Adolescents’ frequent use of social media and other forms of electronic communication has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and adolescents are using these platforms forschoolwork and socialization. Researchers have yet to explore a possible consequence of thisincreased usage: an increase in cyber-victimization among adolescents. To date, most researchhas examined adolescent cyber-victimization in international spaces during the pandemic, but notas much research has been conducted in the United States. Additionally, it is nearly impossible tofind research that focuses on cyber-victimization rates in the United States before and during theCOVID-19 pandemic, which is what this research aims to address.
Participants were two cohorts of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from an urban middleschool. Both cohorts’ self-reported rates of cyber-victimization were examined before (springand fall 2019, early spring 2020) and during the pandemic (spring of 2021). Results indicated alarge number of adolescents experienced cyber-victimization, but these rates were similar beforethe pandemic to current rates of cyber-victimization. This research aims to inform those workingand living with adolescents of the risks associated with excessive social media use, includingexperiencing cyber-victimization. These results can be used to support students who haveexperienced cyber-victimization before and during the pandemic, and to help practitionersstrategize ways to inform and enhance future prevention programs. It is crucial to understand the consequences of this digital world during a global pandemic, and future researchers shouldconsider the associations between cyber-victimization and adolescent mental health concerns.
Keywords: cyber-victimization, middle school, COVID-19 pandemic, social media