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Cyberbullying, Self-control, Information, and Electronic Communication Technologies: Do Adolescents Know How to Exercise Self-control on the Internet?


More and more adolescents are using information and communication technologies (i.e., ITCs) in a massive and addictive way (e.g., by sending aggressive messages on social networks), driving cyberbullying trends (Fanti et al., in European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9, 168–181, 2012). Little is known about the relationship between young people’s use of ITCs and the internet, their levels of self-control, and their involvement in cyberbullying and cyber-victimization. The aim of this study is to investigate these relationships using a sample of 264 French adolescents (142 female and 122 male) aged 11 to 15 years old. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire that measured the use of ITCs (i.e., frequency of internet use, type of device, places where participants use the internet, range of activities), as well as their respective degrees of internet addiction, self-control, cyberbullying, and cyber-victimization. The results yielded pointed to a strongly significant relationship between low self-control and cyberbullying. Furthermore, they showed a significant link between internet addiction and cyber-victimization. Grade level and sex was not found to moderate the relationships between cyberbullying and cyber-victimization and use of ITCs and self-control. These findings reinforce the importance of taking into account self-control in adolescents when designing curricula for anti-cyberbullying programs.

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Correspondence to Céline Bagès.

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The study is in compliance with the ethical rules of APA ethical standards, declaration of Helsinki, French legislation and the Behavioral Sciences Ethics Committee of the University of Lille (number 2017–1-S48 obtained on May 22, 2017). We conducted a cross-sectional study of French public high schools. We contacted each school’s principal, presenting our research. Parents of students from the relevant grades (six and nine) were then sent a letter explaining the research in greater detail. Consent was obtained from each participating adolescent and his or her parents, as well as from the institution.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Hoareau, N., Bagès, C. & Guerrien, A. Cyberbullying, Self-control, Information, and Electronic Communication Technologies: Do Adolescents Know How to Exercise Self-control on the Internet?. Int Journal of Bullying Prevention (2021).

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  • Cyberbullying
  • ITCs
  • Self-control
  • Adolescents