Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Can cellphone bullying and parenting be linked?

Rosemary Carson. Photo / Supplied
Rosemary Carson. Photo / Supplied

The link between cellphone bullying and different parenting styles will be explored by a new research project.

Overseas research has found more than half of all teenagers have been bullied online, but Canterbury University psychology postgraduate student Rosemary Carson said the research was largely limited to bullying on the internet rather than on cellphones.

Her research aims to shed light on how different parenting styles may relate to cellphone bullying behaviour.

Of the teenagers who own a cellphone, more than half use them to communicate with their friends either by calls or texts every day. They fire off an average of 60 texts a day.

Ms Carson will look at emerging parenting styles like uninvolved parenting, where emotionally uninvolved parents offer little or no supervision, and so-called helicopter parenting, where parents pay extremely close attention to their children.

"There is little if any research concerning the contribution of parenting styles to children and adolescents' development regarding cellphone use, particularly with respect to the new parenting styles that are emerging," she said.

"My thesis intends to address these gaps in the literature and provide a comprehensive account of possible relationships between parenting styles and cyber bullying behaviours with regard to cellphones."

Ms Carson's pilot study will ask New Zealand teenagers aged 13-17 about the age of access to cellphones and their cellphone use.

She will also gather descriptive information about bullying and risky behaviour on cellphones.

The second part of her research will address types of cyber bullying, and the frequency and severity of behaviour.

Studies have shown cyber bullying has been rising in prevalence amongst children and adolescents.

The Government is planning a new law to criminalise cyber bullying and require schools to take action against such bullies.

- APNZ

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