Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate


At Upstate High School (pseudonym) in South Carolina, incidences of cyberbullying are on the rise. This explanatory action research study was implemented with the purpose of raising awareness of social media responsibility among ninth-grade high school students along with determining what these students’ perceptions of social media responsibility and cyberbullying. The study was conducted during the Fall semester of 2016 with a single group of 105 9th grade students at a high school in the upstate of South Carolina. Students who participated in the study completed an 85-item questionnaire to provide such quantitative information as their demographics, social media usage, self-esteem, methods of cyber bullying, and attitudes toward cyberbullying. Upon completion of the survey, four student participants were chosen based upon their experiences with cyberbullying to participate in a semi-structured interview to gather qualitative information about their opinions of social media, cyberbullying, and the safe usage of social media. The findings of the study showed that most students struggled to provide examples of responsible social media usage, yet most were aware of the harm that misuse of social media may cause their peers. Upon completion of the study both teachers and school administrators were presented with the findings and in turn an Action Plan was then designed to strengthen the school’s policy on cyberbullying, in addition to raising awareness in the school community about the dangers of irresponsible use of social media.


© 2017, Geoffrey A. Wagner