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Safe Community Partnership October 2013 Social Media & Technology

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Presented Oct 29, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario "Social Media And Technology: New Opportunities and Benefits, New Challenges" Faye Misha, Dean & Professor Factor-Inwentash Facutly of Social Work and Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Chair in Child & Family, University of Toronto

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Safe Community Partnership October 2013 Social Media & Technology

  1. 1. Social Media & Technology: New Opportunities & Benefits & New Challenges Faye Mishna, Professor & Dean McCain Family Chair in Child & Family October 29, 2013
  2. 2. Technology is in their OS  Cyber world has exploded & created a new social environment  Unprecedented opportunities for youth to communicate with others in & out of their face-to-face networks Text Messaging Twitter Email YouTube Social Networking Webcams Tumblr Blogs …& is always advancing…
  3. 3. Technology is in their OS  970 million unique Facebook visitors worldwide  160 million unique Twitter visitors worldwide (Google 2011a,b) Text Messaging Twitter Email YouTube Social Networking Webcams Tumblr Blogs
  4. 4. Context of Social Media World  Dramatic technological advances have forever changed how we communicate & interact  Children & youth are sophisticated users of technology  Youth acquire technological competence much faster than their parents  The risks of new technology are heightened by this disparity in knowledge  Youth seek social connections, information, personal assistance, entertainment online (Mishna et al., 2012)
  5. 5. Technology is in their OS
  6. 6. Technology is in their OS
  7. 7. Magazine is a Broken iPad
  8. 8. Technology is in their OS 98% 95% 85% of Canadian youth use cyber technology daily of teenagers use e-mail of youth use Instant Messaging  Youth are digital natives (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008; Prensky, 2001)  They have never known a world without technology (Valcke, Bonte, De Wever, & Rots, 2010)
  9. 9. Technology is in their OS 93% 63% 75% 88% of American youth 12-17 go online occasionally of American youth 12-17 go online daily of American youth own a cell phone of these youth text message (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zichuhr, 2010)
  10. 10. Complexity of the Online Experience  Regardless of the communication medium, relationships are central & complex  Features of technology create additional complexities in social relationships – Often & spontaneous – Fewer social & contextual cues • May decrease sensitivity & empathy – Perception of anonymity
  11. 11. Navigating the Social Media World  Developmental characteristics make children / youth unprepared for freedom of online world (Liau, Khoo, & Ang, 2008)  Young people need guidance to make the best choices using information & communication technology (Suniti Bhat, 2008)
  12. 12. Social Media World: Benefits  Unprecedented opportunities for communication, learning & self-exploration  Access to crucial resources such as support – Informal – Formal
  13. 13. Social Media World: Benefits  Most online interactions positive/neutral  Can reduce social isolation, normalize feelings of distress  Explore identities not supported in school • “Marginalized”/“vulnerable” groups • e.g., LGBTQ, chronic illness, “invisible disability” (Whitlock et al., 2006)
  14. 14. Social Media World: Risks  Bullying  Sexual solicitation or victimization  Exposure to harmful material  Pornography, violent images, hate messages  When child feels safe (home, room)  Those affected (youth) know much more about technology use than those who should protect (parents, educators)
  15. 15. Defining Cyber Bullying  No universal definition  Use of information & communication technology to cause harm to another person [any device]  Criteria: intent to cause harm, target, power imbalance  Includes behaviours to spread rumours, hurt / threaten others, or sexually harass
  16. 16. Cyber Bullying: Repetition Complex  Occurring in public domain, by its very nature involves repetition  Material (e.g., email, text, pictures) can be viewed far & wide  Can be distributed by perpetrator & by anyone with access  Can be difficult or impossible for victimized child/youth to eliminate
  17. 17. Overlap with Traditional Bullying  Youth who bully or are bullied offline are more likely to bully or be bullied online  Young people who are at greatest risk of victimization in the cyber world are also at greatest risk in the offline world
  18. 18. Prevalence of Cyber Bullying  Typically ranges from 10 to 35% (Agatston, Kowalski, & Limber, 2007; Hinduja & Patchin, 2008; Kowalski & Limber, 2007; Kowalski et al., 2008; Li, 2007; Williams & Guerra, 2007)  Some estimates are much higher, up to 72% (Hoff & Mitchell, 2008; Juvonen & Gross, 2008; Mishna et al., 2010; Raskauskas & Stoltz, 2007)
  19. 19. What Makes Cyber Bullying Unique?  Engagement with the social media world is constant  Therefore transcends the boundaries of time & space  Difficult to escape, because technology follows children & youth everywhere  “non-stop bullying”  Can impact young people above & beyond the effects of traditional bullying
  20. 20. Biased-Based Cyber Bullying  Hate-inspired electronic harassment based on actual or perceived social identities  Based on societal discrimination & inequity  Conditions fostering bullying of marginalized youth appear across all levels of social ecology, including the cyber level
  21. 21. Mental Health Implications  Can be devastating  Growing concern for parents, educators & society “Like 1000 paper cuts eating away at your soul”  Can affect many areas of a child’s or youth’s life
  22. 22. Shame & Humiliation  Little research on role of shame & humiliation in bullying  Humiliation as a result of being bullied associated with devastating consequences  Humiliation is one of the critical factors that precipitate suicidal ideation due to relationship problems  Feelings of humiliation, which can be brought about by repeated bullying, can increase thoughts of self-annihilation  Nature of cyber world can intensify shame/humiliation
  23. 23. Disclosure  Tendency for victimized children & youth not to tell adults  More risks than benefits  Can be painful  Self-blame  May only tell when bullying becomes unbearable  Significant damage already done  May disclose to friends  Pressure on peers to manage loyalty dilemmas
  24. 24. Disclosure  Symptoms & difficulties related to bullying experiences may go unnoticed by child / youth & others in their world  Failure to recognize link between problems & trauma  Can be damaging  Can invalidate youth’s subjective experiences
  25. 25. Disclosure  Not telling is more problematic among marginalized children & youth  More victimization  Less support  e.g., LGBTQ, racialized, newcomers, learning disabilities
  26. 26. Why Children are Reluctant To Report Bullying & Cyber Bullying  Fear technology will be taken away  Don’t want to make a “big deal”  Believe they can/should handle on their own  Often don’t label it “bullying”  Code of silence among children  Fear of retaliation  Shame  Lack of confidence in adults’ ability to help
  27. 27. Adult Responses  Is child listened to? believed & validated?  Or, is child held responsible?  Critical to listen & validate child’s experience of victimization
  28. 28. Ineffective Responses  Minimizing concerns  Disbelieving victimized individual  Blaming victimized individual  Reacting in ways that place victimized individual at more risk
  29. 29. Telling Parents: Focus Groups  Students said they do not tell their parents / adults  Main reasons • Fear losing computer privileges • Believe adults would not find evidence of cyber bullying or be able to identify aggressor • Fear telling would exacerbate cyber bullying • Worry that the adult would advise them to “ignore it”
  30. 30. Bullying as a Traumatic Experience  Impact of bullying is often under estimated  Traumatic impact of bullying is minimized  Bullying may also have a traumatic impact on bystanders
  31. 31. Funded by Cyber Bullying Survey - In partnership with TDSB & UJA Toronto Board of Jewish Education - 33 schools in Toronto - 2186 students - Grades 6 & 7, 10 & 11
  32. 32. Cyber Bullying Survey  Almost every household had a computer  2/3: 2 or more computers  2/3 spend 2 or more hours on computer  Almost ½ use the computer in a private place (e.g., bedroom)
  33. 33. Cyber Bullying Survey In last 3 months 50% of students were bullied online      Called names/made to feel bad Threatened Spread rumours Pretended to be the student Sent others private pictures of student  Sent sexual pictures to student that made them feel bad  Asked to do something sexual that student didn’t want to do
  34. 34. Cyber Bullying Survey In last 3 months 34% of students bullied others online  Called others names or made them feel bad  Threatened  Spread rumours  Pretended to be the person  Sent private pictures of person  Sent sexual pictures to person that made them feel bad  Asked person to do something sexual they didn’t want to do
  35. 35. Who is Doing the Cyber Bullying?
  36. 36. Myth of Anonymity  Cyber bullying is not anonymous  Occurs in kids’ social worlds / networks
  37. 37. Intent: Bullied vs. those who bully
  38. 38. Current study: Motivations for Cyber Bullying: A Longitudinal & Multi-Perspective Inquiry Co-Investigators: Wendy Craig, Tanya Beran, Debra Pepler, Judith Wiener, & Mona Khoury-Kassabri Collaborator: David Johnston Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  39. 39. Current Study  In partnership with the Toronto District School Board  3-year longitudinal study  19 schools drawn randomly • 682 students • Grades 4, 7 & 10  Children, their parents & teachers  Representative of Toronto’s ethnocultural diversity Currently in year 2
  40. 40. Study Objectives 1. Explore students’ experiences & conceptions of cyber bullying 2. Explore the definitions & views of cyber bullying of parents & teachers 3. Explore how children & youth view the underlying motivations for cyber bullying 4. Document the development, shifting roles, & rates of cyber bullying victimization & perpetration 5. Identify risk & protective factors for involvement in cyber bullying
  41. 41. Methodology  Longitudinal multi-informant mixed methods study • Longitudinal quantitative design • Grounded theory  Preliminary findings • Univariate & bivariate analysis of survey results • Chi-square test of significance in bivariate relationships
  42. 42. Measures  Demographic Form  Cyber Usage Form  Youth Self-Report, Child Behaviour Checklist, Teacher Report Form  Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPCC) / Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (SPCA)  Social Support Scale for Children / Social Support Behaviors Scale  Interviews with students, parents & teachers
  43. 43. Demographics  Female 60%  Grade 4 = 24% Male 40% Grade 7 = 36% Grade 10 = 40%  65% of students were born in Canada  8% identified as having a disability  Low need school  Medium need school  High need school 37% 23% 40%
  44. 44. Time Spent Online For how long have you been going online (years)?  Grade 4 average = 3.5 years  Grade 7 average = 5 years  Grade 10 average = 6 years  No significant difference by gender
  45. 45. Time Spent Online How many hours a day do you go online?  Grade 4 average = 2 hours  Grade 7 average = 2.5 hours  Grade 10 average = 4 hours * No significant difference by gender
  46. 46. Percent of Students Who Reported Victimization (last 30 days) 20% 15% 15% Traditional Bully Victim 10% 6% 5% 7% Cyber Bully Victim 3% 2% 1% 0% Once or Twice Three or Four Times Every Day *No significant difference by gender
  47. 47. Percent of Victimization by Type of Bullying & Grade 50% 42% 40% Traditional Bully 30% 25% 20% 13% 13% 10% Cyber Bully 12% 7% 0% Grade 4 p<.001 for traditional bullying p< .05 for cyber bullying Grade 7 Grade 10
  48. 48. Percent of Students Witnessing Bullying 40% 31% 30% 20% Traditional Bully Witness 18% 15% Cyber Bully Witness 10% 4% 6% 2% 0% Once or Twice Three or Four Times Every Day *No significant difference by gender
  49. 49. Percent of Students Reporting Bullying Others 15% 10% 8% 5% 3% 0% Traditional Bully Cyber Bully *No significant difference by grade or gender
  50. 50. Parent Reporting of Children’s Cyber Bullying Involvement Parents reported higher rates for their children’s involvement in cyber bullying  14% of parents indicated their child was cyber bullied  7% of parents indicated their child cyber bullied other(s)
  51. 51. Teacher Reporting of Students’ Cyber Bullying Involvement How often does cyber bullying occur in the grade you teach? 50% 40% 40% 28% 30% 19% 20% 11% 10% 2% 0% Never Rarely Often Very Often Don't Know
  52. 52. Teachers & Parents: Views on Gender Differences Teachers & parents were asked if they thought one gender cyber bullied more  46% of teachers responded YES – Of those teachers, 100% thought females cyber bullied more  39% of parents responded YES – Of those parents, 78% thought females cyber bullied more *No significant difference in student reported cyber bullying by gender
  53. 53. Overlap of Cyber & Traditional Bullying Involvement  74% of students who report being victims of cyber bullying also report traditional bullying victimization  50% of students who report cyber bullying others also report taking part in traditional bullying others
  54. 54. Motivations for Cyber Bullying Students were asked why they think youth cyber bully  Grade 4 top ranked statements: 1) It’s a way to feel powerful 2) Nobody knows who they are 3) Nobody sees them so they don't feel ashamed
  55. 55. Motivations for Cyber Bullying  Grade 7 top ranked statements: 1) It’s a way to feel powerful 2) Nobody sees them so don't feel ashamed 3) It's easy to press “send”  Grade 10 top ranked statements: 1) It’s a way to feel powerful 2) It's easy to press “send” 3) They can get away with it
  56. 56. Students in Distress  Anticipated that a number of students would be identified as “in distress”  Protocol put in place to identify students needing help; we make referrals to school social workers  Unanticipated finding: the high number of students “in distress” & the level of intensity of their distress  Both significant & worrying
  57. 57. Students in Distress  23% of students were identified as “in distress” • Due to various issues, including bullying & cyber bullying  67% Female/ 33% male  52% of students in distress had told someone about the distress  “Low Need School” students significantly less likely in distress  Grade 10 “High Need School” girls more often in distress  Males less likely to seek help from anyone for distress  37% of students identified: suicidal thoughts /plans / attempts
  58. 58. Students in Distress  48% of students in distress reported cyber &/or traditional bullying involvement  15% of students in distress had cyber bullying involvement  54% of students in distress required social work assistance & were referred through the study • 12.2% of the overall sample  2/3 of students in distress who had received professional assistance did not find it helpful
  59. 59. Students in Distress  Students who appeared to be in high level of distress commonly had bullying/cyber bullying involvement as well as other sources of distress • 56% of these students had bullying involvement of some kind  Females were more likely to appear to be in high level of distress than males  Preliminary analysis suggests high level of distress correlated with not seeking help, not disclosing distress to adults, & not requesting help through study
  60. 60. Disclosure & Distress: Reasons Students Don’t Tell Protecting Self Protecting Others Advice/Help Won’t Be Effective From Emotional Responses From Consequences Protecting SelfImage & Sense of Self Protecting Others’ Feelings Protecting Others from Consequences Advice/Help Won't be Effective • Fear of Judgement /what others will think, rejection, anger, blame • Doesn't want problems minimized • Doesn't want / upsetting to talk about it • Don't/won't listen • Didn't want to “make a big deal” • Family doesn't talk about /share feelings • Will get in trouble, be grounded (e.g., for cutting, for bullying ) • Prides self on being independent • Burden on parents • Doesn't want to get friends in trouble • They didn’t know what to do - They don't understand the cyber world • “Didn't want to be the one to cause/ bring the trouble” to family • Don't understand student's emotions/feelings • Parents taking away technology • Doesn't want to be a “burden” on parents • “Didn't want to be the one to cause / bring the trouble” • Doesn't want parents to feel bad, blamed • Doesn't want to bother other people with own sad/ hard feelings • They don't do anything • Adults/resources & their strategies are ineffective, not helpful • He/she won't be believed
  61. 61. The New Cyber World  Cyber bullying must be understood in the context of the new cyber world
  62. 62. The Cyber World has Tremendous Benefits  Can be used for good & for ill  Adults must recognize that the Internet is a real & legitimate social world for children & youth  Adults must recognize that the Internet is not a passing phase  Must understand the cyber world & importance for youth  Must learn about sites children & youth visit
  63. 63. What Can We Do? Removing Access is no Solution  Losing computer or cell phone access feels like punishment to children & youth  Loss of connection with their social world
  64. 64. Education & Training  Adults require knowledge about forms of cyber risk • Education to help identify & respond appropriately  Should focus on safe use of technology & harmful consequences of risky interactions
  65. 65. Minimizing Cyber Risk & Ensuring Cyber Safety  Children, youth, & adults must be aware of & understand cyber risk  There are risks that can be minimized & addressed but not totally removed
  66. 66. Addressing Social Ecology  Must address problematic societal norms & values  Collaborate with others to change attitudes that condone violence, racism, homophobia  Create opportunities for positive contact among young people from various groups
  67. 67. What Adults / Parents Can Do  Adult supervision of technology challenging  Especially with shift to handheld devices  Parents faced with accepting their children’s unavoidable autonomy in the cyber world, while also trying to monitor their activities  Must maintain open lines of communication (Bumpus & Werner, 2009)  Must encourage young people to use information & communication technologies in positive ways
  68. 68. What Adults / Parents Can Do  Be supportive  Parental support is associated with lower levels of cyber bullying involvement (Wang et al., 2009)  Supportive parenting involves  Understanding youth’s perspectives & meaning of technology in their social lives  Taking a non-judgmental stance toward young people & the social media world  Becoming a safe haven for youth when troubling experiences occur online  Developing critical thinking skills & problem solving strategies in partnership with children & youth
  69. 69. What Adults / Parents Can Do  Create environments in which children & youth feel safe disclosing cyber bullying  Disclosure may be difficult because of fear of losing technological privileges (Agatston et al., 2007; Cassidy et al., 2009)  Ability for youth to tell adults is critical as delaying disclosure delays receiving help
  70. 70. Conclusions  Cyber world is complex, pervasive, here to stay  Overlap & distinctions between online & offline bullying  Cyber bullying can be devastating  Adults must be supportive & accepting toward youth regarding their technology use  Adults must maintain open communication to help youth with technology use & problems that may arise  Adults must be a safe haven & resource for problem solving  Develop / evaluate intervention & prevention programs
  71. 71. Thank you! Faye Mishna f.mishna@utoronto.ca

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