How are teachers being attacked online? On cyberbullying and cyberaggression that targets school educators from the student’s perspective

Łukasz Tomczyk 1 * , Francisco D. Guillén-Gámez 2, Maria Lidia Mascia 3, Vicente J. Llorent 4
More Detail
1 Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, Kraków, POLAND
2 Department of Didactics and School Organization, Faculty of Education, University of Malaga, Malaga, SPAIN
3 Sassari University, Sassari, ITALY
4 University of Cordoba, Córdoba, SPAIN
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 14, Issue 3, Article No: e202431.
OPEN ACCESS   506 Views   151 Downloads   Published online: 10 May 2024
Download Full Text (PDF)


The twin phenomena of cyberbullying and cyberaggression are among the most common e-threats. Today, much is known about the aggression and violence mediated by new media and targeted at students. However, there is still an empirical gap in the consideration of the mechanisms and forms of cyberaggression and cyberbullying targeting teachers. The aim of this study is to present 10 types of cyber-attacks that teachers have been subjected to in Poland in the last few years. The types of attacks presented include vilification in the information space (forums and social networking sites), direct attack using social networks, recording teachers without their consent, online blackmail, creation and dissemination of memes, photomontage, latent cyberbullying, destructive actions in the COVID-19 period, the creation of fake profiles, and the use of a digital tool in an offline environment. The subject of the study was the statements of post-secondary school graduates who had encountered such phenomena. The article highlights the need to increase digital safety for teachers.


Tomczyk, Ł., Guillén-Gámez, F. D., Mascia, M. L., & Llorent, V. J. (2024). How are teachers being attacked online? On cyberbullying and cyberaggression that targets school educators from the student’s perspective. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 14(3), e202431.


  • Adams, A., & Tulasiewicz, W. (2005). The crisis in teacher education: A European concern? Routledge.
  • Agus, M., Mascia, M. L., Zanetti, M. A., Perrone, S., Rollo, D., & Penna, M. P. (2021). Who are the victims of cyberbullying? Preliminary data towards validation of “cyberbullying victim questionnaire”. Contemporary Educational Technology, 13(3), ep310.
  • Akbulut, Y., & Cuhadar, C. (2011). Reflections of preservice information technology teachers regarding cyberbullying. Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, 2(3), 67-76.
  • Akeusola, B. N. (2023). Social media and the incidence of cyberbullying in Nigeria: Implications for creating a safer online environment. KIU Journal of Humanities, 8(3), 125-137.
  • Ali, W. N. A. W., Ni, T. Q., & Idrus, S. Z. S. (2020, April). Social media cyberbullying: Awareness and prevention through Anti Cyberbully Interactive Video (ACIV). In Journal of Physics: Conference Series (Vol. 1529, No. 3, p. 032071). IOP Publishing.
  • Arantes, J. (2023). It’s too late–The post has gone viral already: A novel methodological stance to explore K-12 teachers’ lived experiences of adult cyber abuse. Qualitative Research Journal.
  • Astor, R. A., Meyer, H. A., Benbenishty, R., Marachi, R., & Rosemond, M. (2005). School safety interventions: Best practices and programs. Children & Schools, 27(1), 17-32.
  • Balakrishnan, V., Khan, S., Fernandez, T., & Arabnia, H. R. (2019). Cyberbullying detection on twitter using big five and dark triad features. Personality and Individual Differences, 141, 252-257.
  • Ben-Hayun, S. G., & Zysberg, L. (2023). “What does not kill me makes me stronger”: Perceived negative and positive consequences of teachers’ exposure to violence directed at them. Psychology in the Schools, 60(8), 2809-2824.
  • Bisaillon, J., Mercure, C., Villeneuve, S., & Plante, I. (2023). Cyberbullying of professors: What measures are in place in universities and what solutions are proposed by victims? Studies in Higher Education, 48(11), 1639-1650.
  • Cassidy, W., Faucher, C., & Jackson, M. (2018). What parents can do to prevent cyberbullying: Students’ and educators’ perspectives. Social Sciences, 7(12), 251.
  • Cataudella, S., Carta, S. M., Mascia, M. L., Masala, C., Petretto, D. R., Agus, M., & Penna, M. P. (2021). Teaching in times of the COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot study on teachers’ self-esteem and self-efficacy in an Italian sample. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(15), 8211.
  • Celuch, M., Oksa, R., Savela, N., & Oksanen, A. (2022). Longitudinal effects of cyberbullying at work on well-being and strain: A five-wave survey study. New Media & Society.
  • Chan, T. K., Cheung, C. M., & Wongf, R. Y. (2019). Cyberbullying on social networking sites: The crime opportunity and affordance perspectives. Journal of Management Information Systems, 36(2), 574-609.
  • Chen, J. K., & Astor, R. A. (2008). Students’ reports of violence against teachers in Taiwanese schools. Journal of School Violence, 8(1), 2-17.
  • Chun, J., Lee, J., Kim, J., & Lee, S. (2020). An international systematic review of cyberbullying measurements. Computers in Human Behavior, 113, 106485.
  • Cricenti, C., Pizzo, A., Quaglieri, A., Mari, E., Cordellieri, P., Bonucchi, C., Torretta, P., Giannini, A. M., & Lausi, G. (2022). Did they deserve It? Adolescents’ perception of online harassment in a real-case scenario. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(24), 17040.
  • Cuellar Quispe, B. (2022). Programa de estrategias afectivas para mejorar la convivencia escolar en entornos virtuales en estudiantes de primaria [Program of affective strategies to improve school coexistence in virtual environments in primary students] [Final degree project, Cesar Vallejo University].
  • Cutcliffe, J. R. (2000). Methodological issues in grounded theory. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 31(6), 1476-1484.
  • Dennehy, R., Meaney, S., Walsh, K. A., Sinnott, C., Cronin, M., & Arensman, E. (2020). Young people’s conceptualizations of the nature of cyberbullying: A systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 51, 101379.
  • Frolova, E. V., Rogach, O. V., Ryabova, T. M., & Zuykina, A. V. (2019). Factors of conflict in the educational environment of the modern school. European Journal of Contemporary Education, 8(3), 513-523.
  • Gassó, A. M., Cruz, V. F., Juan, I. M., & Agustina, J. R. (2018). Violencia escolar a través de medios digitales: Del bullying all cyberbullying [School violence through digital media: From bullying to cyberbullying]. Educación y Futuro: Revista de Investigación Aplicada y Experiencias Educativas [Education and Future: Journal of Applied Research and Educational Experiences], 38, 57-82.
  • Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Hymel, S. (2014). Moral disengagement among children and youth: A meta-analytic review of links to aggressive behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 40(1), 56-68.
  • Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The Qualitative Report, 8(4), 597-607.
  • González Calatayud, V., Prendes Espinosa, M. P., & López Pina, J. A. (2016). The perception of cyberbullying of secondary school teachers of the Region of Murcia. International Journal of Technology and Educational Innovation, 2(2), 84-89.
  • González Sodis, J. L., & Leiva Olivencia, J. J. (2022). Perception of TIC conflicts among secondary school students in a private school. School mediation as a response. International Journal of Technology and Educational Innovation, 8(2), 58-68.
  • Gupta, A., Kumar, N., Prabhat, P., Gupta, R., Tanwar, S., Sharma, G., Bokoro, P. N., & Sharma, R. (2022). Combating fake news: Stakeholder interventions and potential solutions. IEEE Access, 10, 78268-78289.
  • Hou, D. (2023). The factors, impact, and interventions of cyberbullying in schools. Journal of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, 8, 345-353.
  • Jiménez, R. G. A., Bravo, C. B., & Ilardia, I. M. P. (2020). Uso de las redes sociales entre los jóvenes y ciudadanía digital: Análisis tras la COVID-19 [Use of social networks among young people and digital citizenship: Analysis after COVID-19]. Revista de Investigación en Didáctica de las Ciencias Sociales [Journal of Research in Social Sciences Didactics], 7, 64-81.
  • Kaluarachchi, C., Warren, M., & Jiang, F. (2020). Responsible use of technology to combat cyberbullying among young people. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 24, 1-17.
  • Kane, K., & Montgomery, K. (1998). A framework for understanding dysempowerment in organizations. Human Resource Management, 37(3-4), 263-275.<263::AID-HRM8>3.0.CO;2-U
  • Kopecký, K. (2016). Cyberbullying in a population of Slovak teenagers (quantitative research). Human Affairs, 26(2), 117-127.
  • Kopecký, K., & Szotkowski, R. (2017). Cyberbullying, cyber aggression and their impact on the victim–The teacher. Telematics and Informatics, 34(2), 506-517.
  • Kyriacou, C., & Zuin, A. (2016). Cyberbullying and moral disengagement: An analysis based on a social pedagogy of pastoral care in schools. Pastoral Care in Education, 34(1), 34-42.
  • Larrañaga, M. S. G., Iglesias, E. J., & Aizpuru, N. L. (2019). Bullying y ciberbullying: Victimización, acoso y daño. Necesidad de intervenir en el entorno escolar [Bullying and cyberbullying: Victimization, harassment, and harm. Need to intervene in the school environment]. Revista Española de Pedagogía [Spanish Journal of Pedagogy], 77(273), 295-311.
  • Leung, A. N. M. (2024). Cyberbullying research among children and adolescents: Suggestions for future directions. In A. N. M. Leung, K. K. S. Chan, C. S. M. Ng, & J. C.-K. Lee (Eds.), Cyberbullying and values education (pp. 192-210). Routledge.
  • Leung, L. (2015). Validity, reliability, and generalizability in qualitative research. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 4(3), 324-327.
  • Lim, W., Lau, B. T., & Islam, F. M. A. (2022). Cyberbullying awareness intervention in digital and non-digital environment for youth: Current knowledge. Education and Information Technologies, 28(6), 6869-6925.
  • Marín-López, I., & Zych, I. (2024). Cyberbullying and social, emotional, and moral competencies. In A. N. M. Leung, K. K. S. Chan, C. S. M. Ng, & J. C.-K. Lee (Eds.), Cyberbullying and values education (pp. 89-103). Routledge.
  • Minor, M. A., Smith, G. S., & Brashen, H. (2013). Cyberbullying in higher education. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 3(1), 15-29.
  • Moon, B., & McCluskey, J. (2016). School-based victimization of teachers in Korea: Focusing on individual and school characteristics. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(7), 1340-1361.
  • Naderifar, M., Goli, H., & Ghaljaie, F. (2017). Snowball sampling: A purposeful method of sampling in qualitative research. Strides in Development of Medical Education, 14(3), e67670.
  • Oakley, A. (2010). The social science of biographical life-writing: Some methodological and ethical issues. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13(5), 425-439.
  • Ondrušková, D., & Pospíšil, R. (2023). The good practices for implementation of cyber security education for school children. Contemporary Educational Technology, 15(3), ep435.
  • Pulido Acosta, F., & Herrera Clavero, F. (2015). The emotional intelligence as predictor of academic achievement: The pluricultural context of Ceuta. International Journal of Technology and Educational Innovation, 1(2), 98-105.
  • Pyżalski, J., Plichta, P., Szuster, A., & Barlińska, J. (2022). Cyberbullying characteristics and prevention–What can we learn from narratives provided by adolescents and their teachers? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(18), 11589.
  • Pyżalski, J., Zdrodowska, A., Tomczyk, Ł., & Abramczuk, K. (2019). Polskie badanie EU kids online 2018: Najważniejsze wyniki i wnioski [Polish EU kids online study 2018: Most important results and conclusions]. UAM.
  • Rajbhandari, J., & Rana, K. (2023). Cyberbullying on social media: An analysis of teachers’ unheard voices and coping strategies in Nepal. International Journal of Bullying Prevention, 5(2), 95-107.
  • Rajchel, A. (2017). Autorytet nauczyciela w opinii uczniów szkoły ponadgimnazjalnej [Teacher’s authority in the opinion of secondary school students]. Studia Gdańskie: Wizje i Rzeczywistość [Gdańsk Studies: Visions and Reality], 14, 251-265.
  • Rębisz, S., Jasińska-Maciążek, A., Grygiel, P., & Dolata, R. (2023). Psycho-social correlates of cyberbullying among Polish adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(8), 5521.
  • Reyes, J. A. A., & Pech, S. H. Q. (2022). Repercusiones de la pandemia: La inteligencia emocional como factor del desempeño universitario en entornos virtuales [Repercussions of the pandemic: Emotional intelligence as a factor in university performance in virtual environments]. Revista de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades [Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities], 8(15), 261-283.
  • Rodríguez-Álvarez, J. M., Cabrera-Herrera, M. del C., & Yubero Jiménez, S. (2018). The risks of ICT in the relationships among peers: Cyberbullying in primary and secondary education. International Journal of Technology and Educational Innovation, 4(2), 185-192.
  • Sadeli, E. H., Kamila, Z., & Kartikawati, R. (2023). The role of civic education teachers in managing cyberbullying on students at SMP Negeri 5 Purbalingga. Khazanah Pendidikan [Educational Treasure], 17(1), 316-321.
  • Shariff, S., & Johnny, L. (2007). Cyber-libel and cyber-bullying: Can schools protect student reputations and free expression in virtual environments? Education & Law Journal, 16(3), 307-342.
  • Siddiqui, S., & Schultze-Krumbholz, A. (2023). Successful and emerging cyberbullying prevention programs: A narrative review of seventeen interventions applied worldwide. Societies, 13(9), 212.
  • Stang-Rabrig, J., Brüggemann, T., Lorenz, R., & McElvany, N. (2022). Teachers’ occupational well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of resources and demands. Teaching and Teacher Education, 117, 103803.
  • Thumronglaohapun, S., Maneeton, B., Maneeton, N., Limpiti, S., Manojai, N., Chaijaruwanich, J., Kummaraka, U., kardkasem, R., Muangmool, T., Kawilapat, S., Juntaping, K., Traisathit, P., & Srikummoon, P. (2022). Awareness, perception and perpetration of cyberbullying by high school students and undergraduates in Thailand. PLoS ONE, 17(4), e0267702.
  • Tomczyk, Ł. (2020). Skills in the area of digital safety as a key component of digital literacy among teachers. Education and Information Technologies, 25(1), 471-486.
  • Tomczyk, Ł. (2021). Research trends in media pedagogy: Between the paradigm of risk and the paradigm of opportunity. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education, 9(3), 399-406.
  • Tomczyk, Ł., Fedeli, L., Włoch, A., Limone, P., Frania, M., Guarini, P., Szyszka, M., Mascia, M. L., & Falkowska, J. (2023). Digital competences of pre-service teachers in Italy and Poland. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 28(2), 651-681.
  • Torgal, C., Espelage, D. L., Polanin, J. R., Ingram, K. M., Robinson, L. E., El Sheikh, A. J., & Valido, A. (2023). A meta-analysis of school-based cyberbullying prevention programs’ impact on cyber-bystander behavior. School Psychology Review, 52(2), 95-109.
  • Velandia, M. A. B. V. B., Bazurto, S., Bedoya, N., Barrionuevo, N., & Artos, S. (2021). El cyberbullying en los adolescentes y su incremento por las nuevas tecnologías [Cyberbullying in adolescents and its increase due to new technologies]. Kronos–The Language Teaching Journal, 2(1), 50-59.
  • Wnęk-Gozdek, J., Tomczyk, L., & Mróz, A. (2019). Cyberbullying prevention in the opinion of teachers. Медиаобразование [Media Education], 4, 594-607.
  • Zakaria, Z., & Harun, S. A. (2020). Cyber defamation awareness among adolescents: Case studies in one private institution. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1529(5), 052087.
  • Ziemba, E. (2018). The ICT adoption in government units in the context of the sustainable information society. In Proceedings of the 2018 Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (pp. 725-733). IEEE.
  • Zinter, K. E., McMahon, S. D., Greeson, M. R., & Bare, K. (2024). A comparison of general and special educators’ experiences with teacher-directed aggression and violence. Psychology in the Schools, 61(1), 380-397.
  • Zych, I., & Llorent, V. J. (2023). Bias-based cyberbullying in Spanish adolescents and its relation to social and emotional competencies and technology abuse. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 43(1), 37-58.