Responsive Cooperative Governance of Campus Cyberbullying


The development of network technology allows traditional bullying behaviour to extend into the network space and transform into a new type of campus bullying, called campus cyberbullying. Campus cyberbullying is a subcategory of campus bullying, presenting characteristics of space, time, and anonymity that are different from campus bullying, and it is more potentially harmful to the growth of teenagers. The current governance mode has three practical dilemmas: protection, performance and legitimacy. The governance of cyberbullying should develop a responsive mode of cooperative governance and give full play to its governance advantages, such as timely responses, good governance, and cooperative governance, to meet the needs of modern social governance. Moreover, it is necessary to construct and perfect the corresponding system and mechanisms to realize in advance the system innovation of precaution, intervention and post-treatment, thus improving the mechanism of information guarantees and promoting cooperation.

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Aini, G. (2019) Responsive Cooperative Governance of Campus Cyberbullying. Chinese Studies, 8, 115-131. doi: 10.4236/chnstd.2019.83010.

1. Introduction

The development of network technology brings traditional bullying among students into the network environment. The virtual nature of the network environment blurs teenagers’ ages and identities, which are easily recognized boundaries in the real world. At the same time, in the network environment, implementers can lose a sense of responsibility, leading to cyberbullying behaviours occurring frequently. A survey of 5726 middle school students in Anhui Province (安徽省) shows that the total incidence of online bullying among middle school students is 46.8%, of which 23.8% is only the bullied, 3.2% are bullies, and 19.8% are both bullies and the bullied (Wang, Fang, & Jiang, 2015) . It is difficult for the existing governance model to cope with increasingly complex campus cyberbullying behaviour. Thus, it is urgent to compare and observe mature experiences and to fully integrate scientific and fine-tuned responsive cooperative governance models. In particular, it is necessary to systematize the characteristics, legal basis and specific system of the cooperative governance of cyberbullying.

2. The Characteristics of Campus Cyberbullying and Its Governance Dilemma

Defining the concept is a necessary and indispensable tool for solving legal problems, and without a strict definition, we cannot think clearly and rationally about legal issues. What exactly does cyberbullying mean, and what characteristics directly affect the effectiveness of behavioural governance?

2.1. Campus Bullying and Its Characteristics

Norwegian psychologist Professor Olweus was the first person to define the concept of campus bullying . Olweus (1994) argued that there should be deliberate intent in bullying and that the malicious act of harming is repeatedly and psychologically or physically harmful to the power of an unbalanced bully and victim. The Ministry of Education of China defined campus bullying for the first time in December 2017. The contents are as follows: Bullying in primary and secondary schools occurs inside and outside the campus (including primary and secondary schools and secondary vocational schools). One party (individual or group) intentionally or maliciously bullies and insults the other party (individual or group) by means of limbs, language and Internet one or more times, causing physical injury, property loss or mental damage to the other party (individual or group) through injuries and other incidents.

The statement of the concept posits that campus bullying has at least the following characteristics. First, the subject and object of campus bullying are both students; faculty and external staff are excluded. Second, students who engage in bullying behaviour do so intentionally. To satisfy their own pleasure and declare their power, revenge and other needs, they engage in bullying behaviour, and although the students know what they are doing it, how they do it, and what consequences they can cause through bullying behaviour, they still engage in campus bullying. Third, behaviour persistence is an important feature of campus bullying, and it is also the main criterion for distinguishing between bullying and students’ jokes and other behavioural boundaries. Fourth, campus bullying is harmful to adolescents’ physical and mental health, including small skin traumas, substantial threats to life and health rights, and even permanent psychological trauma. For example, bullying can lead to pain, frustration, fear, and even suicide. Not only can implementers and recipients be harmed but also bystanders. Injuries are manifested not only in adolescence but also in later periods. Fifth, bullying behaviour can occur on campus; it can also occur within a reasonable radius of the school and in other areas. As long as the actual purpose of the actions is to cause physical and mental harm to the victims and to disrupt normal school learning and teaching, actions can be recognized as bullying. Sixth, bullying behaviour can be carried out through language but also through physical behaviour, including assault, abuse and other direct bullying, including isolation, apathy and other indirect bullying.

2.2. Campus Cyberbullying and Its Characteristics

The development of an information network extends traditional campus bullying into the network space. After this extension, many features of campus bullying remain preserved; for example, cyberbullying persists between students, implementers have a subjective intention, and there are negative effects caused by bullying behaviour on students’ physical and mental health.

However, elements and categories of bullying behaviour in the network have changed, making it unique. First, cyberbullying behaviour subverts the principle of a power imbalance in traditional bullying behaviour. In traditional bullying behaviour, the principle of a power imbalance can be manifested in the characteristics of the number of participants, their ages, and their physiological development. However, in cyberbullying behaviour, as long as the implementers have better network operation technology, they can implement cyberbullying behaviour. Second, the network is not constrained by space and time, so once bad information is spread, it is difficult to quantify the frequency and duration of the bullying behaviour. It is difficult for the recipients to escape from the harm of bullying behaviour anytime and anywhere. Third, the network is anonymous, which means that the implementers lose their sense of responsibility, can engage in wanton recklessness, can lack scruples, and can even use a forged identity to cyberbully victims. Fourth, the means and methods of campus cyberbullying are relatively complex and flexible. It is a type of behaviour that uses the Internet and digital technology through instant information, e-mail, web chat rooms, defamatory web pages, online games and other ways to attain the purpose of network harassment, stalking, slander, camouflage, disclosure of privacy, online isolation and other purposes. Implementers use one or even several forms of text, pictures, and videos to achieve bullying purposes.

2.3. The Occurrence and Governance Dilemma of Campus Cyberbullying

The causes of Internet bullying and the conclusions of causality are the keys to preventing bullying. They form the basis for formulating reasonable, lawful and operable governance measures to clarify the relationships between different causes.

There are several reasons for the occurrence of campus cyberbullying. In light of the existing research results, the causes of bullying in the campus network can be identified as follows.

First, the popularity of the Internet and its characteristics are relevant. In the age of the internet, teenagers have experienced an unparalleled change in their learning and lifestyles. With the continuous updating of network functions, the range of adolescents’ use of the network is gradually expanding. For example, through the sharing of network resources, teenagers can find information and courses to Improve their learning efficiency. However, The opening of networks, the rapidity of information dissemination and the universality of content inevitably expose children to bad information that is unfavourable to their physical and mental development. Inappropriate information hinders the formation of students’ accurate concepts of morality and has negative effects on their behavioural choices. In using networks, anonymity not only allows students to spread harmful information freely but also complicates the relationship between student implementers and victims. Even proxy bullying has appeared; that is, implementers use a third person to commit cyberbullying, and the third person here includes both spectators and Internet service providers.

Second, the Internet lacks supervision. Campus bullying incidents have more than once been widespread online; for example, a video showed that on June 3, 2015, in a junior high school in Yongxin County (永新县), Jiangxi Province (江西省), a number of female students kept slapping a kneeling girl on the face, kicked her body from time to time, such a beating lasted for up to five minutes (Zhang, 2015) . According to Ningdu County Education Bureau (2018) reported that on January 3, 2018, seven girls in Siyuan (思源) School of Ningdu County (宁都县) suspected that their classmate Zeng (曾) (the beaten female student) reported their smoking to their teachers. During bedtime, Guo (郭) grabbed Zeng’s (曾) hair and slapped her on the face several times, causing a slight injury to Zeng’s (曾) face and the corners of her mouth. Other female students also stamped and kicked Zeng (曾) to varying degrees, and forced her roll on the ground. The onlooking student Deng (邓) took a video with Guo’s (郭) mobile phone, and sent it to students’ QQ group, and then it was spread in other Wechat groups. However, the relevant regulatory departments have not identified it in a timely manner and have not conducted active interventions. The effectiveness of regulation lies not only in the sense of supervision, responsibility, and the perfection of the supervision system but also in the accountability of supervision regarding dereliction of duty. The absence of effective procedural safeguards will encourage the occurrence of regulatory negligence. Thus, growth of regulatory negligence indicates that social management issues are becoming more complex and more severe. Technology governance alone is too narrow and lax and cannot completely resolve all of the information environment security issues (Yang, 2011) .

Third, adolescent education lacks guidance. Adolescents are still immature in their physical and mental development. It is difficult for them to form accurate cognitions about cyberbullying behaviour and its harms, so it is necessary to implement moral education, networks using standard education, and psychological counselling education to form healthy concepts and appropriate behavioural habits. Students lack the ability to resist temptation and to cope with setbacks, and research has shown that teenagers who have been engaging in or being victimized by cyberbullying are more likely to bully or be bullied online (Hinduja & Patchin, 2013) . We need schools, parents and others to intervene in bullying at the first instance and to educate and protect students throughout the whole process. Parents’ educational conceptions and educational methods, the school’s attention to bullying behaviour and the response situation definitely influence bullying behaviour.

1Articles 558 and 56 of the Restatement of American Tort Law (Second) stipulate that victims can initiate libel suits against cruel and harmful statements. If the mental distress caused by the act exceeds a normal person’s tolerance, a tort lawsuit for intentional mental damage can be instituted.

2The United States “Megan Meier Cyber Bullying Prevention Act” amends the 41st chapter of the Penal Code by adding No. 881 “cyber bullying”, which provides for the application of cyberbullying in criminal harassment, for which the defendant can be fined, sentenced to two years’ imprisonment or both.

The following is the dilemma of the management of campus cyberbullying. The world attaches great importance to campus cyberbullying behaviour; a zero-tolerance attitude is adopted, and positive responses and timely resolutions are the goals. The resolution mainly focuses on two types of paths. One path is to strengthen the legal regulatory path, in the form of legal provisions to give victims rights and to identify the responsibility and punishment obligations for perpetrators. By January 2016, anti-bullying legislation was enacted in all 50 states in the US, including 23 states that specialize in cyberbullying (Xie, 2017) . US law gives victims the right to file defamation proceedings and proceedings citing the intentional infliction of mental damage1, and it expressly enforces the obligation of a bully to be fined and sentenced to imprisonment for the offence of harassment2. Japan’s laws give victims the right to ask the network service provider to disclose information about the publishers’ name and domicile and to clarify the obligations of the network service provider to provide filtering software and filtering services to identify and remove harmful information in a timely manner. There is also a cooperative regulatory path, involving the integration of schools, society, network service providers and other subjects of the power to strengthen cooperation and to jointly address bullying behaviour. The UK government has opened a network hotline, established a dedicated website, and established a child protection working group to protect students and to provide parents with the latest cybersecurity-related knowledge and access to relevant network issues at all times. Additionally, social forces and an annual anti-bullying week to popularize campus bullying-related knowledge are also used. Germany has been successful at using the source of the problem to solve the problem; children receive a quality education from early childhood, and Germany has severe punishments for campus bullying, regardless of the magnitude of the harmful behaviour. Students who are punished twice and still do not change their behaviour are sent to the Juvenile Correctional Department for mandatory disciplinary action.

Campus bullying has aroused the attention of all sectors of our society. In 2016, Government staff and scholars expressed concern about student bullying. The country has also issued a series of documents, such as “Notice on Developing Special Management of Students’ Bullying” (“关于开展学生欺凌专项治理的通知”), and “Strengthen the Comprehensive Management Programme for Student Bullying” (“加强中小学生欺凌综合治理方案”), which reflect the government’s attention to bullying behaviours on campus. Of these measures, the “Notice on Developing Special Management of Students’ Bullying” stipulates the implementation of an 8-month special management action, the centralization of government resources, and guidance on the special conduct of governance. It has created a favourable environment that is advantageous to governance and has defined by whom, when and how to govern to realize the dominance of the governance process and the control of the governance situation. The programme in our country addresses the problem of bullying in primary and secondary schools with a clear plan for comprehensive treatment at the first instance, demonstrating the country’s determination to solve bullying problems. The problems in the governance process can be summarized by the following three points.

First, the procedure for identifying bullying is imperfect and does not facilitate comprehensive protection of student rights and interests. In many cases, teenagers conceal that they are being bullied from other students, and they do not tell their parents about it. Students are not only concerned that telling others that they are being bullying will make things worse, but more importantly, they fear more serious retaliation after reporting. Because of the lack of special bullying reports and accreditation bodies, many bullying incidents are excluded from the scope of governance and have not received sufficient attention or a significant response from all sectors of society. For example, in December 2016, a bullying incident occurred in the Zhong Guan Cun Dier Xiaoxue (中关村第二小学), 10 year-old boy was bullied by his classmates, he suffered from insomnia, anorexia, fear of going to school and other reactions. After the incident, the school refused the reasonable request of the boy’s mother to punish the bullies. Rather than solving the problem, it blamed the parents for the blowing of it into a major controversy and ended up being a joke among the students.

Second, the relief channel is not smooth and is not conducive to the total elimination of bullying. The management decisions of the school and the Education Administration have exceeded the administrative case or the scope of reconsideration, and the parties find it difficult to receive relief. Currently, bullying behaviour, to a certain extent causing obvious physical or mental injury, can be identified and criminally punished. The criminal law response to bullying problems cannot completely govern the situation because it would strengthen people’s dependence on criminal punishment and might even result in people focusing on the punishment and ignoring the cause of the bullying behaviour and any attempts to control and eliminate it. In addition, although many bullying acts cause harm to teenagers, they are not punished because they do not meet the punishment requirements of the existing criminal law, creating a psychological state for bullies, even if bullying is not punished.

3. The Positive Development of the Responsive Cooperative Governance Model

The theory of public governance emphasizes the participation of many groups in the process of governance and the need for the interaction of many groups in this process, leading to its social role becoming increasingly obvious in the process, influencing the entire process of governance and affecting how the government and society cooperate, solve the problem together, and realize the best effects of governance. Therefore, how to realize good governance is the crux of the problem. Good governance is the ultimate goal pursued by any governance. The greater that the response is, the greater that the degree of good governance is (Yu & Zhang, 2003) . Without research on the responsiveness problem, it is impossible to establish an institutional framework for responsive cooperative governance, and it is difficult to achieve good governance.

3.1. Analysis of the Superiority of Responsive Cooperative Governance

Responsive cooperative governance, which considers social public governance theory as the basic idea and solving the problem as its main obligation, has open and stable responsiveness and a responsive cooperative governance mechanism. Responsive cooperative governance can effectively respond to the needs of society and enable the government to work together with the community to solve problems. To explore the superiority of responsive cooperative governance is actually a further interpretation of its connotation.

Focus on participation and response. The responsive cooperation model advocates for a horizontal cooperation relationship based on response and participation. Participation is the most direct expression of rights and can improve the participation ability and quality of counterparts. Participation responds to the interests of counterparts, and the governance procedure is transparent. In the process of campus cyberbullying management, parents’ and students’ full participation, to a certain extent, can ensure that their interests are protected. Responding positively to students’ demands is the responsibility of the government and a valuable pursuit of the government to govern campus problems; it is also the primary characteristic of responsive cooperative governance. The network situation is changeable, and new means of bullying are constantly emerging; network management is complicated. Networks cannot achieve prevention beforehand; they can only respond to new problems as they appear in the network. In the governance process, the relevant main body proposes a motion, and the government initiates the corresponding mechanism. The thought, strategy and process of governance are constantly updated along with the development of the network.

Strengthen the successful governance of virtue. The technical treatment of cyberbullying is the normal mode of the current governance structure, but the technical treatment is not biased, emphasizing its shortcomings in the process of governance. While network technology has developed, cyberbullying has not been significantly reduced. The moral consensus of society and personal ethical self-discipline remains the fundamental determinants of network order. Moral consensus and moral self-discipline are spontaneous products, and the maintenance of social order cannot be separated from spontaneous composition. Both in foreign countries and in China, Moral Governance of cyberbullying has formed a strong foundation and a preliminary practice. The current task is to implement the institutionalized construction of virtuous good governance. In a responsive cooperative governance mode, educational administrative departments should establish a complete online moral education system, organize schools, society and families to create a connected network, and promote the development of online ethics education. Schools should strengthen the integrity of the network mechanism, establishes network ethical rules and engages students as observers parents should help children improve self-discipline through education, and should concurrently monitor children’s use of the internet, so as to make up for the lack of social internet supervision. In the process of the formation of network ethics, the government and the administrative departments of education should play the roles of supervision, promotion and integration, and the schools, parents and students should be voluntarily and consciously participating.

Achieve cooperative common governance. A network does not have the boundaries of a territory or border, so the governance structure with scattered divisions should be gradually transformed into cooperative governance, which must integrate the power of network regulation and strengthen cooperation. Public-private cooperation, administrative cooperation, administrative and judicial cohesion and international cooperation are required (Zhan & Zheng, 2014) . Based on the public characteristics of network governance, the responsive cooperative governance model advocates that educational administration departments, schools, network organizations and even netizens be diversified governance subjects participating in the governance process and in the governance framework of the rule of law, effectively integrating social resources, exerting their respective advantages, and creating common but differentiated forces. First, the government’s detailed control and regulation of every space will result in large administrative costs. Government should pay attention to benign interactions with the network organization and seek a strategy of prevention and protection beforehand. Specifically, through the network rules propaganda, the network organization and students should create awareness of network sanctions. Second, the network organization is the driving force of governance and has the potential for cooperative supervision. On the one hand, network organizations face the need to attract users to implement competitive profitable inducements. On the other hand, only self-censorship can prevent the extreme consequence of facing a survival crisis of seizure and punishment. Self-censorship is achieved through self-discipline. Self-disciplinary rules are more professional and flexible, and they not only reduce the cost of decision making but also form the basis of conscious implementation. Therefore, the government should provide an accurate basis for the self-discipline of the network organization, develop the corresponding policy documents to guide the network organization linkage and self-determination, and gradually train the network organizations as the actual implementor of the cyberbullying governance system. Again, the governance process of cyberbullying is also an open process, which requires the administration of administrative organs, and the administrative and judicial interventions supplement each other in the governance process, share resources, improve law enforcement efficiency and reduce litigation costs.

3.2. The Legal Basis of Responsive Cooperative Governance

If the governance process is divorced from the guidance of the legal system, it will lead the main body of the cooperative effort in the wrong direction and diminish the effectiveness of cooperative governance. The legal basis of the responsive cooperative governance model in the management of campus cyberbullying is mainly reflected in the following points.

The model of responsive cooperative governance responds to the demands of modern social governance. According to (Wu, 2014 ), the three dimensions of the modernization of national governance are common governance, good governance and the rule of law . First, the core problem of cooperative co-governance is to reconstruct the public governance system of campus cyberbullying; the network organization and netizens are not the objects of governance but become the main governing body. To cultivate consciousness of participation in citizens is the basic requirement of national governance modernization; in this sense, the governance path of cyberbullying must be common governance and participatory governance. Second, good governance is the ideal goal of the governance of countries using the minimum amount of money to achieve the best governance results, to obtain more civic support and to achieve better public services. Responsive cooperative governance is also one of the main characteristics of good governance, which is manifested in the reconstruction of the relationship between the country and society, and it strives to attain the optimal state of the relationship between them. In contemporary China, “harmony” is the highest good (Zhang, 2006) . It can be applied to the formation of appropriate coordination and orderly governance systems. The responsive cooperative governance goal is to establish the rule of law, create efficiency and develop a participatory governance system. Finally, there must be conflict and contradiction in the governance process of multi-subject participation, requiring the arrangement of the legal system and the development of the guidelines of the rule of law, and the final foothold of any governance method lies in the rule of law. The rule of law and the modernization of national governance are intrinsically linked; both are important tasks of comprehensively deepening reforms, and the modernization of national law is a manifestation of the modernization of the national governance system.

Responsive cooperative governance conforms to the value pursuits of order, fairness and freedom of the rule of law. First, the rule of law and the order to be achieved by national governance are an “inclusive order” (Zhang, 2014) . “Inclusive order” can eliminate any contradictions and conflicts equally under the guidance of moral, ethical and legal rules. It can ensure that the interests of the main body of society are respected, and creative activities are supported. Fullness of vitality means that the enthusiasm of the social subject is fully mobilized, correctly guided, responded to on a timely basis and reasonably solved. Second, in a modern society, equality of opportunity has become an important principle of justice, and the responsive cooperative governance’s performance is particularly obvious in the field of education, creating conditions of comprehensive development for all students. While it cannot be said that equality of opportunity means that results will also be equal, equal opportunity provides every student with the possibility of fair participation and the realization of his or her rights. The realization of rights requires a judicial response. If judicial equality is weakened, trust in the rule of law will plummet. The judiciary must respond to and address illegal bullying, and it must also be supervised by the people to achieve judicial fairness. Finally, governing the Internet can ensure that the freedom of the network is one of its characteristics. If there is no public order, there is no freedom. Because there is no unrestricted freedom, at the same time, freedom will be abused and be lost. Therefore, network governance itself is one of the ways to safeguard Internet freedom. It is worth mentioning that no governance model can avoid value conflicts in the process of governance; a responsive cooperative governance model will not implement the value order in the face of a value conflict, but based on the changes of network social situation, different governance measures are aimed at different cyberbullying behaviours.

4. The Institutional Framework of Responsive Cooperative Governance

Responsive cooperative governance is based on realistic demands: constantly adapting to the characteristics of students’ physical and mental development; constructing a comprehensive, open and interactive governance framework; and realizing the legitimacy and legalization of governance goals and means. First, many groups participate in the process of governance and utilize their respective advantages in the institutional framework to achieve common governance. The governance of campus cyberbullying requires educational administrative departments, schools, educators, parents and society give more energy and time to cultivating more governance wisdom. Second, the relevant subject should exert a common but differentiated force in intervention beforehand, during the in-process involvement and in the consequent relief. Finally, the mechanism construction of information perfection, investigation and treatment, disposition and cohesion should be strengthened so that the main body can achieve mutual response and consultative cooperation of the governance mechanism in the process of governance.

4.1. Integrated Approach—Prevention, Intervention and Relief

Prevention in advance is the foundation. Prevention in advance is the foundation of protecting the rights and interests of teenagers, and it is the reason for eliminating or controlling campus cyberbullying at the source and the conditional factor of controlling campus cyberbullying. Adolescents are highly dependent on their parents during development, so it is natural that the family is the foundation of child rights’ protection. School is the most relevant environment in which adolescents grow up, and the governance of campus cyberbullying must be implemented in this environment. We should emphasize the responsibility of parents and schools in the anti-bullying process, pay attention to the care and supervision of parents in the process of children’s use of the Internet and be mindful of the management and service of schools in students’ network use. Strengthening the legal education of students is an effective means of preventing juvenile delinquency. First, based on the content of the relevant criminal law norms, the situation of adolescents using the network to conduct campus cyberbullying behaviour violates the criminal law, which is mainly focused on several criminal points, so it is necessary to implement educational programmes to prevent juvenile delinquency by focusing on these points. Second, cybercrime has currently formed a commercialization pattern and a cooperation chain, which means that it has formed a gang tendency, and it already has complete procedures and a fine division of labour. Its social harmfulness is manifested in non-obvious ways and is difficult for society to recognize. Moreover, adolescents are limited by physical and mental developmental conditions and cannot accurately make judgements; thus, they become co-perpetrators of cyberbullying. Therefore, it is urgent to strengthen preventive education about criminal offenses.

In-process intervention is the key. The cause of campus cyberbullying is very complex, and prevention beforehand can effectively reduce bullying behaviour but cannot absolutely prevent a recurrence or achieve complete eradication. The governance of campus cyberbullying must intervene for adolescents whose rights are impinged upon or who are bullying other students. The earlier that the intervention is conducted, the better that the adolescents’ healthy growth will be, giving full play to the advantages of different subjects, and the more effective that the intervention will be.

First, social interventions should be strengthened. Based on the characteristics of campus cyberbullying and its causes and because of the lack of reliable organizations speaking for victims, students who are physical and mentally harmed and disadvantaged are unable to file an appeal, and even if an appeal is files, it might also be ignored or rejected. Social organizations can establish connections among the government, individuals and society. It is necessary for social organizations to play an intermediary role in the governance of campus cyberbullying. In the context of the related subjects of cyberbullying’s communication channels being blocked, the educational administration should encourage social organizations to provide sound channels and to respond promptly to the demands that they hear in the face of frequent bullying behaviour. On the one hand, social organizations, through the establishment of an information platform and using the characteristics of its stability and long-term effects, establish a close relationship between subjects to prevent bullying behaviour from continuing to spread due to the lack of an organizational structure. On the other hand, social organizations can integrate scattered information, thus laying the foundation for legitimate and reasonable appeals. For this purpose, we should give full play to the roles of network organizations, social groups, communities, trade unions and other organizations to ensure the full expression of appeals. Of course, prerequisite problems, such as institutional construction within the organization, must be addressed by relevant legislative departments.

Second, we must strengthen administrative interventions. The governance of campus cyberbullying requires the guidance, support and supervision of the government. Based on the special status of safeguarding the rights and interests of adolescents by the government, it is necessary to establish the relevant protective institutions in the form of planning, coordination and supervision, leading to cyberbullying behaviour governance. Di Xiaohua (2013) has claimed that students who either cannot be controlled by their families and school or cannot be controlled by the judiciary often fall into the criminal abyss due to a lack of early intervention. The establishment of specialized adolescent network protective agencies, such as the adolescent cybersecurity office, ensures cooperation between the government and its subjects, as well as work cohesion.

Third, legal interventions should be strengthened. It is necessary to use the authority of law to promote the role of anti-bullying efforts in the governance of campus cyberbullying. At the same time, we should pay attention to avoiding excessive responsibility so as not to impede the realization of educational purposes and functions. The author does not agree with the view that a school’s responsibility should be stipulated in the form of legislation to address campus cyberbullying behaviour. If schools are actively involved in campus cyberbullying incidents, the use of more flexible non-litigation alternatives will prevent campus cyberbullying effectively, and it will also prevent schools from being frequently involved in litigation and failing to realize their normal educational functions. Therefore, anti-bullying legislation should give schools the right to address campus cyberbullying and require schools to formulate anti-bullying policies based on their own characteristics. Such indirect legislation not only can exert the deterrent power of the law but can also balance the relationship between the realization of a school education and the guarantee of students’ legal rights. If the participation of the aforementioned governing body is active, then the intervention of the judicial department as the last means of relief should be passive, but it might also be necessary. When harmful consequences of bullying occur, it becomes more important to use judicial means to eliminate the abuse and correct the adolescents’ unhealthy network behaviour. There is currently no definite legal basis for bullying, there is no clear cause of action in bullying litigation, and there is no uniform standard regarding whether the school has fulfilled its duty of care; often, tort law and the relevant provisions of the criminal law are applied to make decisions. It is difficult to achieve full coverage of the punishment, the unification of the verdict results, and the embodiment of the principle of maximizing the benefits for adolescents. In the course of lawsuits, we should fully consider the school environment, judge whether the school ignores bullying behaviour and whether to undertake reasonable measures and flexibly identify the situations above to achieve a dynamic balance between the schools’ interests and students’ interests to improve the actual effect of anti-campus cyberbullying efforts.

Relief is a supplement. On the one hand, after bullying occurs, even if the perpetrator is punished accordingly, it does not eliminate the psychological or physical harm suffered by the victim. Therefore, it is important to help the victim emerge from the shadow of the harm, which is not easy to accomplish. On the other hand, it is a systematically complicated process for the students who engage in bullying to return to a healthy life as soon as possible after their behaviours have been punished. The modes of thinking, value judgements and behavioural choices of the adolescents concerned must be corrected effectively. Currently, although subsequent relief has also received a certain amount of attention in our country, because of the lack of recognition for correctional ideas and support at the finance and staffing levels, the system operability is not strong. Many adolescents cannot obtain the corresponding professional relief after they are injured or begin to engage in criminal actions. Our country should expedite the reform of psychological counselling and correction mechanisms for the minors involved and establish a special and normative psychological counselling and correctional system for minors involved in such matters (Lei, 2014) . Additionally, corrective plans for campus cyberbullying behaviour should be developed to fully mobilize the initiatives of educational administrators, psychological consultants, courts and prosecutors and other subjects. Such an approach would involve free, confidential, voluntary, respectful attitudes as the main principles and would adopt psychological treatment and psychological counselling, combined with a variety of corrective measures, to help adolescents form a healthy psychology and to enter an appropriate living environment as soon as possible.

4.2. Path Selection—Using Information and Promoting Cooperation

Cyberbullying has been repeated, and although the damage has reached a certain level, the criminal sanctions process cannot be initiated. The perpetrator has not been subjected sanctions, and the victim moves towards engaging in criminal actions. Bullying incidents occurring in the Zhong Guan Cun Second Primary School (中关村第二小学) reflect that we must address bullying in schools. It is not an aspect of a problem but a systemic problem; systems must be innovated and institutions established, while the urgent need is currently to improve the information security mechanism based on the premise of strongly promoting cooperative governance.

Improve the information guarantee mechanism. With the rapid development of the Internet, adolescents have access to rich and variable information, and the relevant governance departments should progress with the times. First, we should strengthen follow-up investigations and lay the information basis for governance measures. Our country can turn to the advanced experience of developed countries, such as the United Nations’ adolescent rights and interests protection-related rules, which can be used as a reference. However, it is necessary to regularly research and study the violations of adolescents’ current protection situations. A bullying research centre should be established to conduct empirical research on the present situation of bullying and behavioural characteristics and to produce research reports so that the government can formulate policies and provide a basis for bullying-specific legislation. Second, a bullying reporting system should be established to create conditions for responses to violations in a timely manner. Because bullying behaviours have hidden characteristics, it is not easy for them to be identified by schools and parents; we can learn something from relevant foreign legislative experiences and establish mandatory reporting and privacy protection systems to ensure that the relevant departments can respond in the first instance but also avoid the possibility of bullied adolescents suffering a second injury. The subject of the report should not be limited to the bullying victim or spectator students but should also include parents, schools, network organizations and other social workers. The advantage of the reporting system is that it can avoid school excessive interference in student behaviour in the school and the dilemma of the accusation of violating freedom of speech. Third, technical means should be used effectively and update the infringement information on a timely basis. School libraries can install filtering software on Internet ports to prevent students from being exposed to inappropriate information. Internet service providers (ISPs) are responsible for the content hosted on their websites, and every ISP should consider every complaint seriously and investigate network harassment immediately (Dong & Deng, 2010) . When network security personnel from the Internet regulatory department receive relevant reports, they should process them in a timely manner and intercept and filter information and remove harmful information and prohibit its access as soon as possible.

Complete cooperative governance mechanism. The implementation of cooperative governance requires two efforts. One is to delimit the responsibility of the main bodies of cooperative governance, and the other is to rationally arrange the work cohesively among the main bodies in the process of cooperation.

First, the governance experiences of developed countries in campus cyberbullying have indicated that we must establish a governance framework of law, policy and projects. This framework is intended to clarify the governance objectives and guidance principles through normative documents and to clarify the rights and responsibilities of the governance body and the person engaging in the bullying. At the level of the matter, it is clearly stipulated in the law that the perpetrator should bear the responsibility for any injury, including the consequences of suicide. The cause of suicide is not attributable to others. It is the responsibility of the suicidal person. However, in cyberbullying, it is necessary to investigate the responsibility of bullies in suicides. In addition, bystanders’ praise, transmission of the incident and other activities should be identified to identify joint torts in the network environment because their indirect harm to the bullying victims is real. At the school level, the form of the legislation gives schools corresponding rights and requires them to undertake concrete measures; for example, the right to admonish and punish students should be legalized, which can render the school’s investigation and processing mechanisms more operable. At the level of the network organization, the self-regulation of network enterprises not only can optimize the Internet environment of adolescents but can also effectively prevent and control the spread of cyberbullying through excellent, individualized coping strategies. For example, a minor can be required to participate in a discussion using his/her real identity; with regard to the obligations of notification, investigation, and processing, if they are not fulfilled, then it can be presumed that the entity is negligent in the process of governance, and it could bear the obligation of joint damages.

Second, the cohesion of the cooperative governance mechanism is related to the rationality of the choice of personnel appointed to participate in the process, to the legitimacy of the organization’s structure and to the timeliness of its response. It is necessary to undertake detailed provisions. The diversity of cyberbullying behaviour or criminal activities in which the perpetrator is engaging and the differences in adolescents’ physical and mental development lead to harm to the bullying victim. In addition, our country lacks a corresponding measure that can be substituted for criminal punishment or a substitute guardianship to replace the parents’ guardianship. Students whose behaviour is at the margins of illegality do not have the necessary education and protection. Because behaviour is considered to constitute bullying, we should implement treatment measures with different levels of protection, education and punishment. Throughout the process, it is necessary to ensure that different departments implement different bullying protection and punishment measures. For this reason, departments must link up and cooperate with each other. For example, the administrative department of education is responsible for complaints. On the one hand, it communicates the results of complaints to schools and parents and arranges for effective education of students. On the other hand, it works with the judiciary to determine whether it is necessary to relieve students through the judiciary. In this process, infringing on students’ right to education should be avoided.

5. Conclusion

Bullying behaviour is very harmful, especially in relation to the healthy growth of adolescents, and the importance of governance cannot be neglected. Network space is a complex system, and the government-led one-way governance model cannot fundamentally solve the problem of complex cyberbullying. Moreover, even if the students who engage in bullying are punished, it cannot simultaneously ensure that bullying victims quickly return to a normal study and life status; campus cyberbullying behaviour cannot fundamentally be cured. The model of responsive cooperative governance is intrinsically compatible with the governance of cyberbullying in our country; it conforms to the characteristics of cyberbullying, such as existing beyond time and space and retaining anonymity, and it accords with the trends in national governance modernization. Therefore, it is a matter of the utmost urgency to fully analyze the superiority and legal basis of the responsive cooperative governance model, to build a governance framework suitable for China’s realities, and to effectively manage and prevent campus cyberbullying.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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