Predictors of anonymous cyber aggression: The role of adolescents' beliefs about anonymity, aggression, and the permanency of digital content

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Abstract

Little attention has been given to whether adolescents' beliefs about anonymity and their normative beliefs about cyber aggression jointly increase their perpetration of cyber aggression. To this end, the present longitudinal study examined the moderating influence of these variables on the relationships among adolescents' attitudes toward the permanency of digital content, confidence with not getting caught, and anonymous cyber aggression (ACA) assessed 1 year later (Time 2). These associations were examined among 274 7th and 8th graders and through five technologies, including social networking sites (SNS), e-mail, instant messenger (IM), mobile phones, and chatrooms. Findings indicated that increases in Time 2 ACA and attitudes toward the permanency of digital content were more strongly related when adolescents reported greater confidence with not getting caught and higher normative beliefs concerning cyber aggression through SNS and mobile phones. In addition, higher levels of attitudes toward the permanency of digital content, confidence with not getting caught, beliefs about anonymity, and normative beliefs regarding cyber aggression were related to greater Time 2 ACA through e-mail, IM, and chatrooms. All findings are discussed in the context of adolescents' positive attitudes toward ACA, and an appeal for additional research is made to understand more about anonymity in cyberspace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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