Navigating Cyberbullying: A Cross-National Study of Forms and Responses among University Students in an Online Learning Environment

Randa Mahasneh, Atef Elsherbiny, Thaer Ghbari, Muhammad Hammouri


The ubiquity of cyberspace has resulted in a surge in reported cyberbullying cases globally. Despite numerous studies investigating the impact of cyberbullying on students, research addressing its prevalence in the Middle East remains scarce. This exploratory study aims to assess the prevalence of cyberbullying among university students in six Middle Eastern countries: Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. The study seeks to identify common cyberbullying forms and examine students' responses to each, considering variations based on gender, year of study, study discipline, and country. A descriptive approach is followed to achieve the study objectives. A random sample of 2,642 students (1,887 female) participated in the study by completing an online survey about their experience with seven forms of cyberbullying, and the strategies they used to deal with each. A relatively low prevalence of cyberbullying is found among the sample, with 57.6% reporting that they never experienced any form of cyberbullying and 20% reporting experiencing cyberbullying only once. The most common forms of cyberbullying were exclusion (56%), harassment (51%), and flaming (44%). While differences in the prevalence of cyberbullying are found according to gender in two forms, stalking and flaming, no statistical differences according to study discipline are evident. Students in their later years are more likely to experience all forms of cyberbullying than students in their early years (p < 0.05). The differences are significant across countries, with Jordan being highest, followed by Egypt then Kuwait. Self-defending and confrontation are found to be the most common responses to cyberbullying. Overall, the sample reported using active responses to cyberbullying more than passive responses. Females and students in the arts and humanities are more likely to respond actively to cyberbullying compared to males and students enrolled in science disciplines (all p < 0.05). The findings of the study provide a better understanding of the prevalence of this phenomenon in the region and assist stakeholders in planning preventive strategies.


Cyberbullying; online learning environment; COVID-19 pandemic; university students

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
All articles published in JSSER are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The JSSER is indexed and/or abstracted in: