Pitfalls and opportunities for growing up in the digital age

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  • What are some assumptions we have about technology?Maybe that all children and adolescents are online?That they are all on Face book and Twitter?And constantly text messaging?Let’s see..
  • Source: The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Teen-Parent survey, April 19-July 14, 2011. n=799 for teens and parents, including oversample of minority families. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.
  • Older teens, boys, and blacks are leading the increase in texting. Texting is the dominant daily mode of communication between teens and all those with whom they communicate.
  • What are your assumptions about CyberBullying?Maybe that everyone is involved / it’s impossible to be online and not be involved?That it’s terribly upsetting to youth that are victimizedThat it’s part of an inescapable experience that bleeds from school to text to online?Maybe that it’s getting worse – more frequent, more intense
  • Rude or mean commentsThreatening or aggressive commentsRumors, whether they were true or not Bullying is a subset of harassing behaviors (e.g., hits, kicks, threatens, or says nasty or unpleasant things to them; social exclusion) that:Occur over timeAre repeatedHappen between people with differential powerAverage over the 2 years (2007, 2008)
  • Harassment = rude or mean comments, threatening or aggressive comments, rumors true or not
  • Focusing on 2007 and 2008 because just “rude / mean comments” was asked in 2007
  • Both among all youth (so comparable n)
  • 1739 / 3989 13-18 year olds report some type of bullying in the past year(44%)1) The majority of youth are *not* bullied across any of these modes2) the biggest % of bullied youth are bullied through one mode
  • Among the 83% who say they are bullied at home and online, 92% say this is the only place they are bullied (6% are bullied here and another environment, 2% are bullied in 3 of the 4 places)
  • NOTE: n’s for embarrassing/hurtful pictures are really low: 15 in 2007 and 23 in 2008 (others range between 127-299)2006 12-15 year olds: 10612007: 7602008: 730(note that these are total n’s; above only reflect those who were harassed)
  • Not asked in 2006Interesting that distress rates for text-based embarassing/harmfulpic is lower. N’s are similarly small here: 13 in 2007; 16 in 2008
  • Not asked in 2006
  • Concurrent behavior and psychosocial problems have been noted
  • Let’s talk a bit about sex and technologyWhat do you think: has the Internet increased exposure to pornography and x-rated material?What about sexting? Have cell phones and text messaging made it incredibly easy (and therefore common) to send pictures via text messaging?Let’s see…..
  • In the last 12 months, when you X (medium), how many of them show people kissing, fondling, or having sex?
  • Before I let you go out into the world (and try to impress people at dinner parties with your new found knowledge), there are few more things you should know about what we *should* and should *not* necessarily be worried about
  • We know that knowing about something is not enough to affect behavior (think health behavior change)For some reason though, we worry if this somehow does not hold for the InternetNotice here, that although the % of kids decreases over time, we have between 28-52% of youth saying they “don’t know what this is” at Wave 3 – after we’ve told them what it is 3 years in a row…
  • Stalking = Tried to get someone’s attention by doing something 'over the top'. Followed someone without them knowing or spied on themTried to 'talk' with someone when it seemed like they did not want you to. Damaged or destroyed someone's things that they lovedThreatened to hurt someone or yourself if they did not pay attention to youDownloaded a GPS or tracking program to their cell phone without them knowingWhile we need to know more about ‘sexting’ and who the vulnerable yoth are, these data suggest that stalking behavior may be even more common; maybe we need to spend as much time paying attention to thisNOTE: you cannot voice ‘sext’
  • 62% have searched for health or medical information in the past yearAll are statistically significantHIV/STDs17% changed what they’re doing10% visited a doctor13% talked to an adult (parent)Condoms:19% changed what they’re doing9% visited a doctor16% talked to an adult (parent)
  • Let’s not forget that there are *many* benefits of technology%’s are among those who have both friends they have met online first and friends they have met offline (25% of nonlgbt, 64% of lgbt)
  • Today, we’ve talked about a lot of things: How youth are using (and not using - in the case of twitter) technologyHow cyberbullying and other types of youth aggression are being experienced via technology – and how that compares to other environmentsExposure to sex and sexual material online and via cell phones – and how that compares to other environmentsHopefully, you now have the information (the data) to make up your *own* mind about whether youth have too much, or just enough technologyWhatever you decide, I hope that you see the challenge: to acknowledge the difficulties that some youth face, and also the lack of risk that the majority do not. We need to better identify those youth who are struggling and likely need individual help; while at the same time, refusing to give into fear mongering and hyperbolic statements and beliefs about technologyBecause whatever our final determination: technology is here to stay


  • 1. American Psychological Association2012 Annual Convention Orlando, FL2:00 – 3:50 PM August 3, 2012Invited Address, Session ID: 2266Sponsors: APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools,2, APACommittee on Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges, Psi BetaPitfalls and Opportunities forGrowing up in the Digital AgeMichele Ybarra MPH PhD* Thank you for your interest in this presentation. Please notethis presentation is a more recent version of the AmericanPsychological Association presentation tilted “Digitaladolescence: Myths and truths about growing up withtechnology”. Analyses included herein are preliminary. Morerecent, finalized analyses may be available by contacting CiPHRfor further information.
  • 2. Technology is ubiquitousImage from: http://www.computernewsme.com/2011/04/social-media-essential-to-it-service-
  • 3. Online activity
  • 4. 6
  • 5. Technology is ubiquitous:RecapMost children and adolescents areonline (95%) – but not all are (5% arenot)Many (80%) are on Facebook andother social network sites But very few (16%) are tweeting Constantly text messaging? YES 75% of teens text; at a median of 60texts per day
  • 6. CyberBullying is everywhereImage from: http://www.definetheline.ca/Asdfasdfasdfasdfasdf
  • 7. Overlap of cyberbullying and Internetharassment victimizationNot involved62%Cyberbully-only victim1%Internetharassment-only victim24%Cyberbully +Internetharassmentvictim13%Data are averaged from Growing up with Media, 2007 and 2008, n=2338 observations (1588youth)
  • 8. Internet harassment victimization ratesover time10%18%26%39%50% 50%22%26% 26%37%48%44%21%34%43% 43%46% 44%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%10 11 12 13 14 15 16 172006 (n=1,577)2007 (n=1,189)2008 (n=1,149)Data are from Growing up with Media
  • 9. Text messaging harassmentvictimization rates over time7%13%16%11%13%24%8%16%24%32% 30%34%0%10%20%30%40%11 12 13 14 15 16 172007(n=1,189)21%30% 32%19% 19%31%15%33%36%39% 36%42%0%10%20%30%40%11 12 13 14 15 16 172007 (n=682)2008 (n=802)Among all youthAmong youth with cellphonesData are from Growing up with MediaIn press, Pediatrics, Ybarra, Mitchell, Korchmaros; National trends in exposure to and experiences of violence on the Internet among
  • 10. Bullying victimization rates overtime1%7% 5% 6% 7%10%3%7% 9% 9% 8%13%14% 14% 15% 13% 13% 15%0%10%20%30%40%11 12 13 14 15 16 17 182007 (n=1189)2008 (n=1149)2010 (n=3777)Cell phone text messagingInternet2006, 2007 data are from Growing up with Media (in press, Pediatrics)2011 from Teen Health and Technology7% 8%12% 12% 14%19%7% 10%18%14%18% 19%18% 19% 20%16% 16% 18%0%10%20%30%40%11 12 13 14 15 16 17 182007 (n=1189)2008 (n=1149)2010 (n=3777)
  • 11. Cyberbullying is inescapable(?)39%10% 14% 17%10%0%20%40%60%80%% of youth reportingbullying56%21%11%6%3% 3%# of different modesone is bullied in0 1 2 3 4 5Data are from Teen Health and Technology(n=3,777)
  • 12. Cyberbullying is inescapable(?)15%83%4% 7%0%20%40%60%80%% of youth reportingbeing bullied online92%6%2%# of differentenvironments one isbullied among thosebullied online1 2 3Data are from Positive Youth Development(n=3,777)
  • 13. Distress among 12-15 year oldsreporting harassment online17%31%28%18% 27%21% 26%13%19%22%18%54%12%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Rude/mean Rumors Threatening / aggressiveEmbarassing/hurtful picture/videoSocial exclusion200620072008Distress = very or extremely upset about self-defined most “serious” timeData are from Growing up with Media, sample sizes vary based upon n reporting each experience
  • 14. Distress among 12-15 year oldsreporting harassment via textmessaging21%25%39%19%17%21%28%21%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Rude/mean Rumors Threatening/aggressive Embarassing/hurtfulpicture/video20072008Distress = very or extremely upset about self-defined most “serious” timeData are from Growing up with Media, sample sizes vary based upon n reporting each experience
  • 15. A comparison of distress among youthbullied across environments and modes35% 38%16% 15%23%33%35%39%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Bullied 12-15 y.o. All bullied youthSchoolInternetPhoneOn the way to and from schoolDistress = very or extremely upset about self-defined most “serious” timeData are from Growing up with Media 2007 and 2008, sample sizes vary based upon n reporting eachexperience
  • 16. Psychosocial issues for victims Interpersonal victimization / bullying offline(Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007;Ybarra, Mitchell, Wolak, Finkelhor, 2006; Ybarra, 2004) Depressive symptomatology and suicidalideation (Ybarra, 2004; Mitchell, Finkelhor, Wolak, 2000; TheBerkman Center for Internet & Society, 2008; Hinduja & Patchin, inpress) Alcohol use (Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007) Social problems (Ybarra, Mitchell, Wolak, Finkelhor, 2006) School behavior problems (Ybarra, Diener-West, Leaf, 2007) Poor caregiver-child relationships (Ybarra, Diener-West, Leaf, 2007)
  • 17. Psychosocial issues forperpetrators Interpersonal victimization and perpetration(bullying) offline (Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007; Ybarra &Mitchell, 2007; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004) Aggression / rule breaking(Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2007) Binge drinking (Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007) Substance use (Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007; Ybarra &Mitchell, 2007) Poor caregiver child relationship(Ybarra, Mitchell, Espelage, 2007; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004; Ybarra &Mitchell, 2007) Low school commitment (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004)
  • 18. CyberBullying: Recap• More than 4 in 5 youth who use theInternet are *not* cyberbulliedCyberbullying (bullyingonline) affects between 17%of youth each year;harassment affects about38%• 2/3 bullied and harassed youth areless affectedAbout 1/3 of bullied andharassed youth are very orextremely upset• For a concerning minority(12%), bullying is ubiquitous (inperson, online, via text)Bullying is most commonlyan in-person experience.• Text messaging victimization may beincreasing…Internet victimization is notincreasing
  • 19. Technology is a hotbed of sexImage from: Chan Lowe http://blogs.trb.com/news/opinion/chanlowe/blog/2009/02/sexting.html
  • 20. Exposure to sexual material bymedium75% 69%19% 25%16%24% 30%77%74%83%3%1% 1% 1% 1% 1%0%20%40%60%80%100%Some, many, all Almost none/noneData from the Growing up with Media survey, 2008 & 2010 (18 y.o. and younger) n=1913 observations, 1588 youth
  • 21. Wanted exposure to x-ratedmaterial online by age1%7% 7% 7%2%4%8%14% 15%22%4%6%14% 14%20%26%12%19%22%27%25%29%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 192006 (n=1577)2007 (n=1189)2008 (n=1149)2010 (n=792)Data from the Growing up with Media survey
  • 22. Wanted exposure to violent x-ratedmaterial online by age1% 2%0% 0%0% 1% 0% 0%3%1%1% 1% 2%5%3% 3%4% 3%1%4%2% 3%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 192006 (n=1577)2007 (n=1189)2008 (n=1149)2010 (n=888)Data from the Growing up with Media survey
  • 23. Putting it into context:“Sexting” versus sex talk bymode and youth sex1%3% 2%0%1%6%2%0%8%10%5%0%6%10%5%0%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%In person Text message Online Some other wayMales: sextingFemales:sextingMales: sex talkData are from Teen Health and Technology, n=3777
  • 24. “Sexting” by age and sex2% 2% 2%5% 5% 5%1% 2%6%7% 8%10%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%13 14 15 16 17 18Males (n=1641)Data are from Teen Health andTechnology
  • 25. “Sexting” (across all modes) byage and sex3% 3%4%8% 8% 8%2%4%8% 9%12% 13%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%13 14 15 16 17 18Males (n=1641)Data are from Teen Health andTechnology
  • 26. „Sexting‟ related to other sexualbehaviorsSexual behaviors Nosexting(n=3,588)Sexting(n=189)aOR(95% CI)Current romanticpartner22% 50% 2.8 (2.0, 3.9)Kissed 47% 89% 8.2 (5.1, 13.1)Fondled 29% 83% 10.2 (6.8,15.4)Oral sex 17% 70% 10.4 (7.3,14.9)Sex with a toy orfinger17% 70% 10.1 (7.1,14.3)Vaginal sex 17% 65% 7.8 (5.5, 11.1)aOR = adjusted for biological sex, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and surveyexperience indicators (i.e., privacy when completing the survey and self-reportedhonesty). Data from Teen Health and Technology
  • 27. Technology is filled with sex:RecapCompared to TV (75%) and music,(69%) the Internet is among the leastcommon exposures of sexual material(16-25%)Less than 1 in 20 youth (5%) have„sexted‟ via text messaging in the pastyear◦ Youth are sharing sexy photos online (2%)and in person (1%) too◦ It is related to increased age, and other sexualbehaviors  maybe in most cases, it‟sanother way to express one‟s sexual self?
  • 28. A few more things to know about newtechnologyImage from: http://thatsnotcool.com
  • 29. Knowledge is not enoughData from the Growing up with Media survey, n=1,588In press, Pediatrics, Ybarra, Mitchell, Korchmaros; National trends in exposure to and experiences of violence on the Internet among56%48%41%66%57%52%41%50%56%30%39%44%3% 2% 3% 4% 3% 4%0%20%40%60%80%100%2006 2007 2008 2006 2007 2008Hate sites Death sitesYesNoI dont knowwhat this is
  • 30. Focusing on adolescent health (not media)issues: Stalking vs. “sexting”18%8%5%9%1% 2%5%7%5%10% 10%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%In person Online Phone TextmessagingStalkingSextingSex talkStalking data from Growing up with Media, 2010 (n=888);Sexting/sex talk data from Teen Health and Technology (n=3777)
  • 31. Benefits of technology:Teaching healthy behaviors Physical health: Dance DanceRevolution Healthy behaviors: SesameStreet‟s Color me Hungry(encourages eating vegetables) Disease Management: Re-Mission(teaches children with cancerabout the disease)(as described by MyThai, Lownestein, Ching, Rejeski, 2009)
  • 32. Benefits of technology:Access to health information10%4%7%4%10%40%74%23%26%15%56%60%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%non-LGBTData are from Teen Health and Technology, n=5542
  • 33. Benefits of technology:Social support for LGBT youth14%29%16%12%28%40%32%25%0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%45%Listening Are lessjudgementalLetting you be you Understanding younot LGBTLGBTCompared to friends I first met in-person / “offline”,friends I first met online are better at…Data are from Teen Health and Technology, n=2131
  • 34. Too much technology?Or is everything kinda pretty muchokay…?Image from: http://impostor.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/brainmachine.jpg
  • 35. AcknowledgementsGrowing up with Media: This survey was supported by CooperativeAgreement number U49/CE000206 from the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC). The contents of this presentation aresolely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily representthe official views of the CDC. I would like to thank the entire Growing upwith Media Study team from Center for Innovative Public HealthResearch, Harris Interactive, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ofPublic Health, and the CDC, who contributed to the planning andimplementation of the study. Finally, we thank the families for their timeand willingness to participate in this study.Positive Youth Development: The project described was supported byAward Number R01 HD057191 from the National Institute of ChildHealth and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibilityof the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views ofthe National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or theNational Institutes of Health. We would like to thank the entire Studyteam from Internet Solutions for Kids, the University of NewHampshire, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network(GLSEN), Labtrobe University, and Harris Interactive, who contributedto the planning and implementation of the study. Finally, we thank thestudy participants for their time and willingness to participate in thisstudy.