Exploring Young People's Perspectives of Relationships Online: Helping Them Develop Positive Interventions When Relationships Go Wrong.

Impact: Health & Welfare Impacts

Description of impact

In progress

The final stage of this three part study aims to work with young people to address their own relationship issues encountered on line. We will carry out evaluations of the study to record 1) increased levels of peer led interventions 2) reduced number of cyberbullying incidents 3) increased well being among students

Who is affected

Students in the three secondary schools and youth organisation in which the study was carried out. Some students have expressed their thanks for being allowed to have their voice related to their behaviours online being made heard through presentations and publications.

At the next stage students will be supported to manage their own relationship issues they encounter online without adult intervention. They will be supported in their development of self-agency and subsequently increase their well-being and reduce mental health issues related to becoming victims of cyberbullying or labelling as a cyberbully.

Parents - greater understanding of why their child might respond aggressively on social media when they encounter relationship issues and also how they might support their child when this issues arise.

Teachers - Greater understanding of the wider issues influencing young people's relationships online, which lead to behaviour issues and classroom disruption in school.

Sussex police school liaison officers - Who now have a theoretical framework to support their current schools intervention strategies.


This project, a three part study, responds to growing concerns discussed with Simon Edwards in his voluntary youth worker role about the prevalence of cyberbullying among students attending three secondary schools and a youth organisation in Sussex, UK. Further discussions with young people attending one of the schools and the youth organisation supporting this project evidenced some conflict between the students and adults perspectives of their responses to peers when they encountered issues online. The young people did not view their actions as cyberbullying. The first two stages, a quantitative study with 600 students followed by a qualitative focus group study, therefore responded to these concerns by first developing an interpretative theoretical framework of young people's perceptions of their relationship building strategies on a range of social media. This report was presented to parents, teachers and police schools liaison officers in two of the schools in July 2015 and September 2016 to help present the young people's voice and perspectives of their responses when relationships go wrong. The presentations also explained and the moral justification for young people's actions and explored with the audience how they might support the young people in these situations. The next stage of this study aims to work with young people in these schools and youth organisation to develop strategies and interventions, which they can carry out themselves in order to manage relationships more positively online. This responds to our research cohort's concerns about over reliance by schools and adults on surveillance rather than helping them help themselves.
Impact statusOpen
Impact date2 Jul 2014
Category of impactHealth & Welfare Impacts
Impact levelPlanning (future or potential impact)


  • Youth
  • Social media
  • Identity
  • Relationships
  • Intervention