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Youths´ experience of aggressive interaction through mobile phone and Internet

Poster
Authors Sofia Berne
Haglind Anne
Ann Frisén
Published in The always -on-generation: Risk and benefits of new technologies Florence, 21 October 2010
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords aggressive interaction through mobile phone and Internet
Subject categories Social Sciences, Psychology

Abstract

Youths´ experience of aggressive interaction through mobile phone and Internet Sofia Berne, Anne Haglind & Ann Frisén Psychology of department, University of Gothenburg, Sweden Aim: The aim of this study was to explore if Swedish youths experience interaction through mobile phone and Internet as more aggressive then interaction face-to-face; if so what reasons they see for this. Methods: Eight focus groups were held with 12 and 15 years old Swedish youths. Forty eight adolescents´ participated in the study. Results: The result show that Swedish youth experience interaction through mobile phone and Internet as more aggressive than in real life. The focus groups interviews also show that revenge, negotiating power, social status and invisibility were important reasons for why interaction in cyber space becomes aggressive. The tendency to take revenge is one major reason for being aggressive in cyber space according to the youths. Participants made statements about how the parties involved at times might retaliate towards each other, neither wanting to give in, creating an escalating circle of aggression. The intent to maintain or gain a higher social position was another reason for negotiating according to the youths. The youths mentioned that the person who has the best ability to send quick, aggressive comments and who do not “give up” is seen as the one who has the most power and social status in cyber space. The invisibility of self and other was a further reason youths talked about. Several informants spoke about that the invisibility in cyber space makes you feel more safe from the others retaliation. The discussion in the focus groups indicated that sometimes the aggressive behaviour becomes cyberbullying. The youths implied that in the context of cyberbullying, revenge is a way of coping when they are bullied. The respondents also reported that some victims in traditional bullying dare to retaliate on the Internet when they are not seen and do not see the other person. Conclusions: The focus groups revealed that interaction in cyber space is more aggressive than face to face between youths. The focus groups interviews also revealed that revenge, negotiating power, social status and invisibility were important reasons of why interaction in cyber space might become more aggressive than face to face interaction.

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