Funded Projects

More digital abuse prevalence and trend data are needed to understand the magnitude and severity of the problem. More data are also needed on who experiences and perpetrates digital abuse. The Digital Trust Foundation believes that more empirical research into digital abuse will ultimately support stronger solutions and prevention strategies. We funded three research projects to expand the prevalence research base for this topic.

All project summaries were written by grantees.

Grantee: Data & Society Research Institute (PI: Amanda Lenhart & Michele Ybarra)
Project: Measuring Cyberstalking and Digital Domestic Abuse Across the Lifespan 

Led by Amanda Lenhart and Michele Ybarra, this Data & Society Research Institute Project will conduct a nationally representative landline and mobile phone survey of 3,000 Americans ages 15 years and older to quantify the prevalence of cyberstalking and digital domestic violence, including cyber-exploitation. Recognizing that witnessing abuse can also have a negative impact, the researcherswill further investigate the extent to which people witness others’ abusive behavior online. The survey will also examine how online privacy behavior may relate to and even protect against online abuse.The study aims to provide abetter understanding of how abuse is perpetrated and experienced through technology,particularly across age groups,and will release a publicly available, publicly accessible report detailing its findings.

Grantee: University of New Hampshire (PI: Kimberly Mitchell)
Project: Cyberbullying among Adolescents and Young Adults in the U.S.: Four New Studies from the National Technology Harassment Victimization Survey 

This project involves in-depth secondary data analysis from the Technology-Harassment Victimization (THV) Survey. The THV Survey, conducted by the applicants, is a telephone survey which drew its sample from a subset of households that completed a previous survey, the Second National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV II) in 2011-2012. The THV Survey was designed to gather information on peer victimization involving technology such as the internet or a cell phone. It included questions about technology use, perpetration of harassment, and bystander experiences, as well as questions about psychosocial characteristics and general victimization history. The THV data was collected from December 2013 to March 2014, resulting in two waves of data from 791 youth, ages 10-20. This project, directed by Dr. Kimberly Mitchell and Dr. Lisa Jones, will extend work with the THV to analyze data and draft a series of reports, fact sheets, presentations and webinars to answer the following outstanding questions: 1) What is the nature and impact of cyberbullying for youth with various types of disabilities? 2) How do cyberbullying victimization rates and characteristics differ across developmental stages including young adolescents, older adolescents, and young adults? 3) What is the relationship between cyberbullying and suicidal ideation, and how is this relationship influenced by mental health and previous victimization experiences? 4) What role does power imbalance play in online harassment and cyberbullying experiences, and how does that differ from in-person bullying?

Grantee: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (PI: Justin Patchin) (Co-PI: Sameer Hinduja of Florida Atlantic University)
Project: Cyberbullying and Teen Dating Violence: 2015-2016

The overarching goal of this research project is to illuminate the nationwide prevalence, frequency and scope of cyberbullying and electronic  dating violence among a population  of youth. A rigorously-constructed nationally representative panel of 12-17 year olds, with parental  consent, will be surveyed. Apart from descriptive findings by age, gender, grade, and other important demographics, data will also be collected on contributing factors to perpetration and victimization, as well as the negative outcomes that stem from cyberbullying  participation as an aggressor  or a target. Most previous studies  have focused on local schools or school districts  as data sources. This leads to a key methodological limitation  – the potential lack of generalizability – which can addressed with a nationally-representative replication.  Moreover, the few nationally-representative data sources that have been analyzed are woefully out of date. Finally, significant media attention has recently been directed  toward  small samples  consisting of students from one particular school. This study will consist of a large nationally-representative sample of youth from which more valid conclusions can be drawn about the nature, extent, and correlates of cyberbullying and electronic teen dating violence.