Digital networking in secondary schools

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Significant research over the last 35 years has investigated bullying, and more recently cyberbullying, amongst children and young people, particularly in schools. Cyberbullying in particular, has become the focus of debate, which may amount to a moral panic. Yet, this broad umbrella term covers a range of online activities and is largely undefined. This chapter responds to calls for new interpretative frameworks for young people’s use of digital social networking media and issues related to their use. The chapter re-thinks some young people’s digital social networking practices, which are interpreted negatively and in some cases as cyberbullying. It first sets the context of current research and debates around cyberbullying and then presents the findings from a small ethnographic doctoral study in which a group of young people’s socialising practices and language codes managed offline and online (text messaging and sns) were explored. Their social practices are viewed through the lens of Giddens (1991), who claims the self-project has become a highly reflexive and collaborative task co-constructed within the daily routines of managing relationships. The findings challenge some current perceptions of cyberbullying, underpinned by notions of unjustified aggression and intent to harm, and adopts the premise that young people’s communication online is motivated by the desire to construct rather than deconstruct relationships. It recognises their need to manage social practices and relationships online as an intrinsic condition of their existence in order to maintain their self-identities and narrative.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRethinking Social Issues in Education for the 21st Century
    Subtitle of host publicationUK Perspectives on International Concerns
    EditorsWendy Sims-Schouten, Sylvia Horton
    Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
    PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4438-9942-0
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


    • Youth
    • Social Media
    • Schools


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