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NextGen Magazine


Study: Teenage Boys Who Spend Significant Time Online More Likely to Engage in Cyberbullying

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 7, 2021

A recent study has confirmed what many had long suspected: Many Internet bullies and trolls are teenage boys who spend most, if not all, their free time online, according to Fast Company. The conclusions are borne out from a survey of 428 adolescents aged 13 to 19 years old; of those, 50 percent were female, 49.1 percent were male and 0.9 percent were other. On average, these teens spent about seven hours per day online, and sometimes up to 12.

What the researchers found was that boys who spent the most time online were the most likely to engage in behaviors such as personal attacks, harassment or discriminatory behavior, spreading defamatory information, misrepresenting oneself online, spreading private information, social exclusion and cyberstalking. While girls also engaged in these behaviors, they did so less frequently than boys did.

"Our results indicated that higher social media addiction scores, more hours spent online, and identifying as male significantly predicted cyberbullying perpetration. Thus, those who spend more time online, have elevated social media addiction scores, and identify as male may be at higher risk for committing acts of cyberbullying," said the study abstract.

Amanda Giordano, principal investigator of the study and associate professor in the UGA Mary Frances Early College of Education, said people engage in cyberbullying online mainly because of the anonymity and the fact that there's no retaliation. Further, because of the latter two factors, they also seldom see the consequences of their behavior on other people, and so generally underestimate the damage they do. The age is likely another factor.

""You have these adolescents who are still in the midst of cognitive development, but we're giving them technology that has a worldwide audience and then expecting them to make good choices," she said.