Exploring Cyberbullying and its Implications on Psychosocial Health of Students in Accra, Ghana: A Thematic Analysis
Authors: Yvonne Otubea Otchere, Erika Primo, Jacob Owusu Sarfo
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Globally, there is a surge in the cases of cyberbullying. Our study explored the concept of cyberbullying and its effects on the psychosocial health of students in Accra, Ghana. We collected semi-structured interviews from six students (three females and three males) who have past lived cyberbullying experiences. From our thematic analysis, six major themes emerged:(1) forms of cyberbullying, (2) reasons for engaging in the act of bullying, (3) effects of cyberbullying, (4) strategies for coping with cyberbullying, (5) perpetrators and victims of cyberbullying, and (6) prevention of cyberbullying. The results also showed that the most common cyberbullying types were in the forms of posting nudes, revenge porn, and rude comments. Perpetrators of cyberbullying did so for fun, revenge, insecurities, jealousy, power-play, and transfer of emotions. Also, victims of cyberbullying often experience mental health problems like depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, paranoia and avoidance. We also observed that the victims use emotional support and rational (problem-solving) coping strategies, while bullies adopt revenge coping. Regarding participants’ perception of cyberbullying prevention, all participants agreed that cyberbullying could be reduced or prevented by creating awareness and ensuring social media responsibility. Our study has implications for policy, psychological interventions, and further research in Ghana.