THE DARK SIDE OF TECHNOLOGY: CYBER VICTIMIZATION AND ITS RELATION TO PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT AND DEPRESSION
Middle East Technical University (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Page: 5602 (abstract only)
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Technological improvements facilitate our lives in several areas such as health, security, law, and education. Usage of computers and the Internet for educational purposes attracts the attention of both researchers and practitioners. As well as students, teachers utilize technology in every step of their courses beginning from the preparation for the course, lecturing, and evaluation of the students. Students also take the advantage of using computers and the Internet such as searching the Internet for their courses. However, technology usage may be hurtful depending on the purpose of the usage. Most adolescents use the Internet and computers for hurting others intentionally which is called cyber bullying (Smith, Mandavi, Carvalho, & Tippett, 2005). It has been known that victims of cyber bullying experience serious problems such as depression, isolation and loneliness (Hinduja & Patchin, 2006). Considering these problems, the present study aims to examine the protective role of perceived social support levels of cyber victims against depression. It has been hypothesized that the perceived social support level functions as a buffer in the relationship between cyber victimization and depression.
Data was collected from 383 (240 females and 143 males) university students who aged between 18 and 35 (M=22.88; SD= 3.09) and living in Ankara. Revised Cyber Bullying Inventory (RCBI; Topcu & Erdur-Baker, 2010) was utilized to measure cyber victimization experiences. For measuring the perceived social support levels of the participants The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS; Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988) was utilized. Finally, Beck Depression Inventory was used to examine the depression scores of the participants (BDI; Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emergy, 1979). In addition, a demographic form was utilized.
After conducting the reliability and validity studies for each of the measurement tools and obtaining acceptable results, data analysis was carried out. Results indicated that cyber victimization and depression scores of the participants are positively and significantly correlated. In order to examine the role of perceived social support in the cyber victimization and depression relationship, mediation analysis was carried out by hierarchical regression analysis. Before conducting the mediation analysis, Baron and Kenny’s (1986) three requirements for mediation analysis were checked. Acceptable findings were obtained for only perceived social support from family and mediation analysis was done by keeping perceived social support from family as the mediator variable between cyber victimization and depression. Findings of mediation analysis pointed out that those who have been cyber bullied, experience depressive symptoms less if they perceive high social support from their families.
In conclusion, the present study makes an emphasis on the risk of unethical usage of technology. Practitioners need to be careful on how the adolescents utilized technology while they seem to be using it for education. Especially instructors and university counselors collaborate and prepare training programs which reinforce ethical and responsible technology usage. Additionally, as the findings of the present study show the role of family is very important in keeping their children as psychologically healthy. The participants of the study were university students and the findings need to be cross-validated with different age groups.
Keywords: Technology usage, cyber victimization, social support, depression.