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MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet

FAU Cyberbullying Expert’s Research Links School Climate with Online Behavior

‘School Climate 2.0’ Provides a Road Map for Improving School Climate, Counteracting Cyberbullying and Sexting

BOCA RATON, FL (April 16, 2012) – Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within the College for Design and Social Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University, along with Justin Patchin, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, have released new research linking school climate with online behavior.  Their findings offer research-based strategies for improving school climate to counteract cyberbullying and sexting.
            “There is little question that what goes on online affects what happens at school and vice versa,” said Hinduja.  “While our research shows that most teens use technology in a safe and responsible manner, some do make mistakes or use technology in ways that create significant problems for others. These behaviors must not be ignored.  With the right tools, educators have the power to creative a positive climate and even bully-proof schools at school and online.”

Hinduja and Patchin conducted field work and collected data from a random sample of more than 4,400 students from 33 middle and high schools in one large school district in the southern U.S.  Students who reported a better climate at their school also reported fewer online behavioral problems and that teachers who talk about these issues with their students are making a difference.  Although only about half of the students in the study said a teacher had talked to them about being safe online, these students were significantly less likely to cyberbully others than those who had not been talked to.

“Fewer than 10 percent of targets of cyberbullying told a teacher or other adult at school about their experience because many students do not believe that the teacher will actually do anything to stop the behavior,” said Hinduja. “Clearly, adults in school have some work to do to convince students that these problems can be effectively resolved.  Our next step is to work on transforming the classroom and school into a place where students feel safe, respected, involved and connected.”

The team’s findings are presented in a new book titled "School Climate 2.0:  Preventing Cyberbullying and Sexting One Classroom at a Time" (Corwin 2012).  Strategies outlined in the book include tactics such as building a sense of community; peer mentoring; social norming; youth grassroots campaigns; data-driven action plans; and multi-pronged policy and programming approaches.
            For more information, contact Sameer Hinduja at 561-799-8227 or , or visit .



About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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