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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cyberbullying in Higher Education

Bullying has extended beyond the schoolyard into online forums in the form of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a growing concern due to the effect on its victims. Current studies focus on grades K–12; however, cyberbullying has entered the world of higher education. The focus of this study was to identify the existence of cyberbullying in higher education, reveal the existence of students bullying instructors, and determine its impact. Three hundred forty-six online instructors from the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs at the school of management at a large online university were surveyed. Of the respondents, 33.8% said they had been cyberbullied by students, 4.4% of respondents were unsure, and 61.8% said they had never been cyberbullied by students. Over 60% of the participants did not know what resources were available or felt that there were no resources available to help them should they encounter cyberbullying by students in the online classroom. Results indicated concerns about reporting cyberbullying, ranging from fear of not getting further teaching opportunities to dealing with it and decreasing the rate of student retention.

Full article here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Teens and Technology 2013

Teens and Technology 2013


by Mary Madden, Amanda Lenhart, Maeve Duggan, Sandra Cortesi, Urs Gasser


Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

These are among the new findings from a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey that explored technology use among 802 youth ages 12-17 and their parents. Key findings include:

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the internet.
  • 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.

“The nature of teens’ internet use has transformed dramatically — from stationary connections tied to shared desktops in the home to always-on connections that move with them throughout the day,” said Mary Madden, Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and co-author of the report. “In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Perceived Peer Pressure and Need For Popularity as Predictors of Adolescents’ Use of the Mobile Phone for Making Hurtful Pictures and Videos of Peers and Teachers


Perceived Peer Pressure and Need For Popularity as Predictors of Adolescents’ Use of the Mobile Phone for Making Hurtful Pictures and Videos of Peers and Teachers

Authors: Vanden Abeele, Mariek
Van Cleemput, Katrien
Vandebosch, Heidi

Issue Date: 21-Mar-2013

Conference: Youth 2.0 location:Antwerp date:20-22 March 2013

Abstract: In only 15 years, mobile phones have evolved from basic communication technologies to high-tech multi-media devices that are fully integrated into adolescents’ daily lives. Although appraised for the greater autonomy they bring to adolescents in the support of their social relationships (Ling & Yttri, 2006), these multi-media devices also afford them to engage in new, aggravated forms of bullying that rely on the production and distribution of hurtful pictures and videos. The extant literature on adolescent mobile phone use suggests that adolescents use their mobile phones to negotiate peer group dynamics (Caronia and Caron, 2004; Ling & Yttri, 2006). Socially and normatively deviant behaviors in particular (such as sexting or mobile porn use) have already been found to serve as a means to establish or enhance adolescents’ position in the peer group (Ling, 2005; Bond, 2010; Ringrose et al., 2012). The purpose of this study is to examine whether the practice of making hurtful pictures/videos of peers and teachers can also be explained from peer group dynamics.

Previous literature on offline bullying and aggression already points towards the importance of peer group dynamics in explaining the occurrence of these behaviors. Coercive behaviors towards peers, then, serve as a way of demonstrating social dominance over them and thereby achieving popularity (Ahn, Garandeau and Rodkin, 2010; Andreou, 2006; Closson, 2009; Hawley, 2003; Hoff et al., 2009; Robertson et al., 2010). In research on cyberbullying, the social contexts in which these practices occur remain largely unexplored (until recently, see: Festl & Quandt, 2011; Gradinger, Strohmeier, Schiller, Stefanek, & Spiel, 2012)). As it is more and more confirmed in research that cyberbullying occurs mostly between adolescents who know each other from pre-existing ‘real-life’ social contexts, taking into account peer dynamics is necessary to get a better understanding of this behavior. Moreover, little attention has gone out to the (cyber-)bullying of teachers. Previous studies on perceived popularity indicate, however, that perceived popular teens oftentimes display anti-authoritative behavior in the classroom and act defiantly towards teachers as a means to enhance their position in the peer group (de Bruyn & Cillessen, 2006). Peer group dynamics may thus also predict whether teens use the camera-capacity of their phone to bully their teachers.

In the current study, we examined two aspects of peer group dynamics in relation to the making and distributing hurtful pictures/videos of peers and teachers: adolescents’ need for popularity (H1) and perceived peer pressure (H2). We investigated our hypotheses by conducting a quantitative survey among 1943 adolescents (50.6% males, Mage = 15.28, SD = 1.89). We asked respondents how frequently they had used their mobile phone in the past 6 months to (1) make a picture/video of a peer to ridicule him/her, (2) to make a picture/video of a peer who is physically bullied/beaten, (3) to distribute this kind of picture/video over the Internet (e.g., via e-mail, SNS, youtube), (4) to make a picture/video of a teacher to ridicule him/her, (5) to distribute this kind of picture/video over the Internet (e.g., via e-mail, SNS, youtube). Perceived peer pressure (α = .75) and need for popularity (α = .77) were measured with validated scales (REF). Gender, age, school track, school attitude, academic self-concept, general self-concept and social self-concept were included as control variables.

Results generally supported our hypotheses for each of the five dependent variables: adolescents who perceive greater peer pressure (H1) and who have a greater need for popularity (H2) were significantly more likely to have made and distributed hurtful pictures/videos of their peers and of their teachers. Somewhat different profiles were found, however, for boys and girls, as perceived peer pressure did not predict these behaviors for girls. Moreover, the effect of adolescents’ school experiences on the outcome measures strongly decreased after entering perceived peer pressure and need for popularity into the equation, which suggests a possible mediation effect of peer group dynamics.

The findings of our study point towards peer group dynamics as an important factor in explaining this aggravated form of cyberbullying.
Publication status: published
KULeuven publication type: IMa

Appears in Collections: Leuven School for Mass Communication Research

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Teen Dating Abuse and Harassment in the Digital World

Teen Dating Abuse and Harassment in the Digital World

The Urban Institute's study on teen dating and digital abuse surveyed 5,647 teens to better understand how many have been affected by abuse and harassment. One in four dating teens is abused or harassed online or through texts by their partners, according  the largest survey to date on the subject.  Victims of digital abuse and harassment are 2 times as likely to be physically abused, 2.5 times as likely to be psychologically abused, and 5 times as likely to be sexually coerced. New technologies—social networking sites, texts, cell phones, and e-mails—have given abusers another way to control, degrade, and frighten their partners.  These tools haven’t pushed overall abuse rates up, but have allowed abusers to harass their victims anywhere and at any time, even when they’re apart. 

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