Cyberbullying Education Needs to Begin Before Middle School Study Suggests

A new study by Stephanie Englander of Bridgewater University suggests that 83 percent of middle schoolers, 39 percent of fifth-graders, and 20 percent of third-graders have their own cell phone.  The study was conducted for the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center with the hopes of determining whether readily available technology, such as cell phones, plays a role in cyberbullying.

Cell phone use graph in Research Findings: MARC 2011 Survey Grades 3-12
(Credit: Elizabeth Englander/Bridgewater State University)

In her report, Englander recommends that "Education on cyberbullying and cyber-behaviors needs to begin well before Middle School ... Children are all online by third grade and over 20 percent report experiencing problems with peers online." Another interesting finding is that while in-school bullying decreases as children age, cyberbullying increases.

At what grade do your schools begin to address cyberbullying?  How do you talk to elementary students differently than high school students regarding cyberbullying?

Englander's full report is available here.