Cyberbullying in a diverse society: comparing Jewish and Arab adolescents in Israel through the lenses of individualistic versus collectivist cultures

Research paper by Noam Lapidot-Lefler, Hanan Hosri

Indexed on: 29 May '16Published on: 28 May '16Published in: Social Psychology of Education


The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in cyberbullying (bystanders, victims, bullies) between Jewish and Arab adolescents in Israel. The findings could uncover critical implications for children, educators, and policymakers for understanding Cyberbullying in a diverse society. In particular, the differences in cyberbullying between collective and individualistic societies and the effect of gender bias on the likelihood of engaging in cyberbullying. Two cultural contexts in Israel were explored: one representing a collectivist orientation (Arab-Muslim and Arab-Christian culture), the other representing a more individualistic orientation (Jewish culture). The study included 901 junior high and high school students (501 Jewish-Israelis and 400 Arab–Israelis), which filled in an online cyberbullying survey. Findings revealed that Jewish adolescents reported being cybervictims and cyberbystanders more than Arab adolescents, yet contrary to expectation, Arab adolescents reported being cyberbullies more than Jewish adolescents. Contrary to expectation, no gender differences in being a bully were found among Jewish adolescents, while among Arab adolescents, girls reported higher bullying than boys. The cultural difference was significant among girls, revealing that Jewish girls were higher than Arab girls on bystanding and victimization, yet Arab girls were higher than Jewish girls on bullying in cyberspace. The cultural difference was not significant among boys. Using online communication as a theoretical framework, this study observed aspects of cyberbullying in the diverse and multicultural society of Israel through the lenses of individualistic versus collectivist cultures. The findings and their implications are further discussed and shed more light on cyberbullying in a diverse and multicultural society.