2.1 Data Collection
The sample included 215 adolescents from the United States (56% female) aged 13 to 17 who participated in a web-based survey with their parent or legal guardian. This study received post-secondary institutional approval from their behavioral review ethics board. After the adult participants provided their informed consent for themselves and their child, teens were also given the opportunity to assent to be a part of the study. Teen participants who did not provide their assent were not included in the analysis. Parents completed their surveys first then were asked to leave the room so that their teens could complete their portion of the survey. In this paper, we only analyzed data collected from teen participants. To recruit a nationally representative sample of participants, we leveraged a Qualtrics panelFootnote 1. Qualtrics compared data collected with regional demographics to prevent over sampling from a particular population. Attention screener questions were used to filter out low quality data. The data collection was completed by the end of August 2014.
Cyberbullying and Cybervictimization.
Participants’ cyberbullying and cybervictimization experiences were measured with an online harassment scale (Wisniewski et al. 2017). This behavioral-based measure consists of 6-items with two subscales: cyberbullying (3 items) and cybervictimization (3 items). Items are scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = not at all, 2 = one to a few times this past year, 3 = a few times a month, 4 = a few times a week, to 5 = almost every day. A higher score represents greater involvement in cyberbullying or cybervictimization. The measure asks respondents about their online interactions between self and others. The cybervictimization items are grouped together, followed by the set of cyberbullying items. The measure asks respondents about their online interactions between self and others. Sample cybervictimization items include “Based on your experiences within the past year, please indicate how frequently you were subjected to online interactions between you and others that involved someone treating another person in a mean or hurtful way, making rude or threatening comments, spreading untrue rumors, harassing, or otherwise trying to “cyberbully” another person” and “online interactions between you and others that involved sharing personal or sensitive information either without the owner’s consent or that otherwise breached someone’s personal privacy.” A sample of cyberbullying item include “Based on your experiences within the past year, please indicate how frequently you sought out online interactions between you and others that involved exchanging sexual messages (i.e. “Sexting”), sexually suggestive text-based messages or revealing/naked photos, or arranging to meet someone first met online for an offline romantic encounter.” The cybervictimization measure has a Cronbach’s α of 0.93 and cyberbullying has a Cronbach’s α of 0.94.
Participants’ bridging and bonding social capital were measured with the Internet Social Capital Scale (ISCS; Williams 2006). This measure consists of 20-items with two subscales: bridging (10 items) and bonding (10 items). Items are scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = strong disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, to 5 = strongly agree. A higher score represents higher social capital. Sample bonding items include “the people I interact with online would put their reputation on the line for me” and “there is someone online I can turn to for advice about making very important decisions.” Sample of bridging items include “interacting with people online makes me feel connected to the bigger picture” and “Interacting with people online makes me interested in things that happen outside of my town.” The ISCS measure had been shown to have a Cronbach’s α of 0.90 (Williams 2006).
Parental mediation strategies measured were active, restriction, and monitoring (Livingstone et al. 2011). The measure consists of 20-items with three subscales: active (5 items), restriction (6 items) and monitoring (11 items). Items are scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = not at all, 2 = rarely, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, to 5 = almost all of the time. Next, sample active item includes “Do either of your parents currently do any of the following things with you? Talk to you about what you do on the Internet.” Sample of restriction item includes “For each of these situations, please specify how restrictive your parents usually are: Upload photos, videos or music to share with others.” Lastly, examples of monitoring item include “Does either of your parents sometimes check any of the following things - which websites you visited based on your Internet browsing history” and “Use parental control technologies to keep track of the websites you visit.” The parental mediation measure had been shown to have Cronbach’s α of 0.75 for active mediation, 0.94 for monitoring mediation, and 0.88 for restriction mediation.
Self-reports of age and ethnicity were used to determine demographic characteristics of participants. Age was determined by asking participants to select their current age from categories of 13 years old, 14 years old, 15 years old, 16 years old, and 17 years old. Participants identified their gender as either male or female. Participants were also asked “Choose the category which best describes you” Respondents endorsed one response that they most closely identify with: White/Caucasian, Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Other. The ethnic descriptions were collapsed into the following four categories: White, Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Other (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native, Other).
2.3 Data Analysis
Two Hierarchical Linear Regression analyses were conducted with cyberbullying and cybervictimization as the outcome variables while taking into consideration sex, age, ethnicity (Block 1) and internet use (Block 2). Social capital variables were entered into Block 3 and parental mediation variables were entered into Block 4.