ChapterPDF Available

Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings

Authors:
  • Free University of Bolzano-Bozen
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhö, Virginia
Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran Thompson , Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in
educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds), Cyberbullying through the new media:
findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
Draft copy
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
2
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
3
Although much literature has focused on the negative impact that online behavior can have on
young people’s wellbeing, and the unsafe use of the Internet by children and adolescents (e.g.
Valcke, De Wever, Van Keer & Schellens, 2011), Costabile and Spears (2012) emphasized the
positive influences of technology on children’s and adolescents’ social, academic and personal
wellbeing and adjustment in their edited book: The Impact of Technology on Relationships in
Educational Settings. This chapter summarizes the contributions by members of Working Group 6
of the COST Action (see Chapter 1) towards understanding the positive uses of new technologies,
and highlights ongoing evidence relevant to it. In doing so, we present a counterpoint to the known,
negative consequences of new technologies, such as cyberbullying, and challenge the reader to
adopt an holistic view, reflecting on both sides of the ICT coin in terms of relationships in
educational settings: where positive uses and impacts are not only the converse of negative, but are
also closely intertwined.
Background
Young people living in contemporary societies in 2013, who are aged 18 years and under, have
never known a world without an online presence. Within two decades of the appearance of the
publically available World Wide Web (Internet), (circa 1995), young people are experiencing a
rapidly changing social context which is forging new social and legal boundaries (see Chapter X)
and are simultaneously re-configuring how they, and the adults around them, operate relationally.
They have a digital footprint that has grown with them; is intertwined in and around their
relationships; and which will follow them into the future. They use social media to communicate
directly and indirectly, through sharing videos and images as well as text, and this has enabled
young people to represent themselves and see others in ways which were not foreseeable prior to
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
4
the advent of the internet. The ‘web’ or ‘touch-screen generation and their development, attitudes
and behavior are different compared to those of their parents: the so-called ‘millenials’ (Ferri,
2011). One key difference relates to how each uses technologies: the wireless and touch-screen
generation embrace technologies as an expected and integral part of their daily social and learning
worlds, whereas their parents predominantly use ICTs as tools to accomplish tasks. Young people
and adults now operate in a truly global communications community, with increasingly mobile
technologies which are converging all features to single, hand-held devices, and adopting active
roles as: content creators and publishers (e.g. Wikis); content sharers (e.g. YouTube; Instagram);
discussants (e.g. Skype; Blogs); social networkers (e.g. faceboook, bebo; MySpace; LinkedIn);
micro-bloggers (e.g. Twitter); LifeStreamers and Livecasters (e.g. Y!Live); virtual world
inhabitants (e.g. Habbo; Second Life); social gamers (e.g. Angry Birds) and massively multiplier
onliners [gamers] (MMO) (e.g. World of Warcraft).
The reciprocal influence of this significant information, communication and technological (ICT)
revolution on young people, parents, families, school communities, and broader societies cannot be
underestimated. On the one hand, young people control, create and drive the innovative uses of
these new technologies: on the other, they are the recipients of all the positive and negative
influences and impacts that it has to offer.
The Impact of Technology on Relationships in Educational Settings
As this chapter is reporting on the contribution of Working Group 6, it is relevant to summarise the
edited book published by this group (Costabile & Spears, 2012). Thirty eight contributors from the
COST Action on Cyberbullying shared their cross-cultural understanding and expertise of how
positive uses of ICTs were contributing to positive outcomes for young people and the school
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
5
communities in which they operated. This was an important contribution to the field, as it
demonstrated the interplay between the two sides (positive/negative) of the same online ‘coin’.
Part I of the book presented some of the background issues to the impact of technology on
relationships in educational settings. Spears, Kofoed, Bartolo, Palermiti and Costabile (2012) set the
scene by directly engaging with youth voice in three countries about the positive contribution that
social networks played in their lives; Arnthórsson, (2012) noted the bigger picture: the importance
of protecting identity and having secure net addresses at a national level; and De Santo and
Costabile (2012) highlighted the challenges of creating new academic curricula, so that media
education can directly impact on educational practices.
Part II explored scholarly settings, and the role that technology played in enhancing relationships
within those contexts. Brighi, Fabbri, Guerra and Pacetti (2012) discussed the potential of
technology to transform educational structures and experiences; whilst Pörhölä and Lahti (2012)
reviewed current literature and examined the ways young people established and maintained their
peer relationships, specifically reporting on virtual rooms created for them; and Del Rey, Sánchez
and Ortega (2012) explored prosociality in the internet. Popper, Strohmeier and Spiel (2012)
suggested the use of notebooks and e-learning in schools as examples where technology enhanced
learning and learning outcomes; and Pyźalski (2012) reflected on the digital generational divide and
the functional and dysfunctional styles of internet use by adolescents. Hayat and Amichai-
Hamburger (2012) examined the relationship between internet use and the psychological and
psycho-social wellbeing of children; Aouil (2012) discussed the impact of online support/help; and
Glasheen and Campbell (2012) noted how online counseling enhanced relationships and
connectedness in school settings.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
6
Part III drew attention to international evidence-based practices which promoted participation,
support and learning opportunities, as well as cyberbullying interventions which employed these
positive strategies in dealing with cyberbullying. Menesini and Nocentini (2012) reported on the
differences between online and face-to-face peer-led education and intervention approaches; and
von Kaenel-Flatt and Douglas (2012) presented an innovative model of online and offline peer
mentoring (Cybermentoring). Poskiparta, Kaukiainen, Pöyhonen and Salmivalli (2012) outlined an
anti-bullying computer game from the KiVa program, designed to motivate children and enhance
their learning processes; similarly, Wolke and Sapouna (2012) examined a virtual intervention
game to reduce victimization. Wotherspoon, Cox and Slee (2012) reported on employing creative
storyboarding, freeze-frame methodologies and mobile phone technologies to create and send anti-
bullying video messages to students via mobile phones, and Spears (2012) reviewed online
programs in Australia which promoted cybersafety and digital citizenship.
Collectively, the authors noted the importance of the contribution from young people as experts in
this domain; and advocated for social support and learning opportunities using ICTs directly,
through online gaming, explicit teaching and integration in lessons and indirectly, through training
of peers, teachers and parents. They also articulated how technologies can enhance learning,
relationship skill development, curriculum development and pedagogy, as well as the need to
consider online safety and identity growth. Some of these notions are further explored by members
of this Working Group in the sections to follow.
Cognition and Identity Considerations
The rapid increase in ICT use has given rise to a plethora of research on brain development, social
impacts and academic outcomes (Greenfield & Yan, 2006) which have direct implications for
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
7
understanding the positive influences of ICTs on relationships in educational settings, including
cyberbullying and the ways in which we might subsequently intervene.
Cognition and Development
In terms of cognition, the use of the Internet and social media generally provides more
developmental advantages than disadvantages for children. ICT use has also been found to impact
on such areas as memory, perception, attention and learning processes and frequent internet users
cognitively outperform infrequent users (Greenfield & Yan, 2006; Johnson, 2008; 2010). There is
also a downward developmental trend regarding actual use, and Spears (2010) reported that tech-
savvy tots’: very young children (aged from 9 months to 3 years), are using iPads and iPhones as
interactive, visual, self-reinforcing learning tools, well before they can read or utilize the full range
of capabilities of the devices. These tech-savvy tots, who will be in school settings within five
years, are learning to press, click, swipe, pinch and expand screens; to multi-task; and to operate
across multi-screens. There are learning and social relationship implications arising from all these
shifts and researchers will need to consider them, as well as how these children also form and
develop their identity in relation to use of ICTs, if prevention and intervention strategies are to be
effective with this new “touch-screen” generation, and the positive impacts of future ICTs are to be
understood.
Identity
According to classical theories of identity development (Erikson, 1968; Palmonari, 2011, Slee,
Campbell & Spears, 2012), personal identity becomes central around 11- 15 years of age. Identity
experimentation and exploration by adolescents is essential as they transit from childhood to
adulthood. However, until recently, the main influential factors were via offline relationships:
parents, peers, and important other adults. The virtual environment: the internet, including
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
8
convergent mobile devices, and the rise in social media use, is increasingly more significant for this
age group and this suggests that there is a need to reconsider classic theories in light of this new
online environment.
Affirming autonomy and identity occurs by naturally separating from parents, and simultaneously
by testing themselves in peer groups. Recently, however, real’ peer groups have been dramatically
supplemented by online social networks and virtual communities: with the consequence that
relationships are played out within both real and online contexts. Whilst young people have
articulated that there is only one social life which flows seamlessly between on/offline contexts,
their online identities impact on their offline contexts, and vice versa (Spears et al., 2012).
Developing identity through public social network sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Twitter,
Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube and Myspace, is an active and reflective, cognitive and social process.
These sites connect young people in networked spaces where they can publically and privately meet
each other, establish friendship circles and learn about and experience interpersonal relationships.
SNSs thus contribute to the development of an adolescent’s identity through enabling young people
to experiment with different ways of being, including explicitly adopting different personas and
identities (Spears et al., 2012).
SNSs also promote identity formation through the different artistic expressions and representations
of themselves that they choose to make available to others online. The photo-voice of young
people is immediately apparent when viewing such sites as Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and
Tumblr, which pictorially/visually reveal their social contexts, their emotions, their perspectives of
themselves and their worlds. Exercising some control in how they portray themselves to others
online, through for example, the taking and posting of photographs of themselves (so-called
‘selfies’), is an important component of this representation and is demonstrative of how they create
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
9
and manipulate their own images: to suit the projection of themselves that they want others to have
of them. SNSs then are as much about image control/management, as they are about having friends
and socializing online.
Making choices about how they see themselves, how others see them, and how they want to be seen
by others are deliberate, reflective acts in their online environment, and these choices are constantly
refined and adjusted in a process of image and impression management, designed to put the best
version of themselves forward (Stern, 2008). Valkenburg and Peter (2007) suggest that this control
over how they express their online identity enhances adolescents’ feelings of security. However,
with the ability of others to manipulate images online, there can be a subsequent loss of control,
suggesting that there is a tension here for young people at the very time they are trying to establish
and stabilize their identity as they progress towards adulthood.
One clear advantage in using the online setting for social purposes, is the opportunity to not only
belong to a larger peer group than is reasonably possible offline, but to also experience its own
unique online identity: with the many hundreds of friends, and friends-of-friends who would not
typically be available to individuals in offline situations. Proximity is a key determinant of
friendship, and social network sites create an appearance/illusion of proximity, through the online
24/7 aspect of always having access and being reachable. The tyranny of time and distance however
are mediated through these online SNSs, and friendships which would have naturally faded due to
someone moving away, can now be maintained or rekindled, and families too can stay connected
when living in different parts of the world, thus contributing to identity formation in ways that were
not available before. Identity development is a constant refinement of comparison and contrast, and
online groups offer increased opportunities to compare oneself with vast numbers of others,
including those who in the past may have not been influential due to time and distance. The role of
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
10
social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954; Gruder, 1971) is relevant here, and is worthy of
investigation in an online context, particularly when there is such opportunity for commentary by
others.
Young people who participated in a three-country cross-cultural qualitative study concerning what
was positive for them about being online in SNSs (Spears et al., 2012) reported many impacts
including: being able to test different identities; feeling less/lower risk when experiencing strong
emotions; and being able to experiment with different kinds of relationships and roles without
feeling guilty if they made mistakes or had misunderstandings. Each of these relates to learning
about themselves as individuals, as well as learning to be members of a group and the dynamic
which accompanies it. Identity formation then, in an online context reflects that which is known in
the offline setting: where it concerns both individual and group aspects. However, due to the
expansive and unique nature of the online setting, forging one’s identity and determining a sense of
self and belonging can be challenging, especially when an individual can choose to pose as and
compare oneself to, something/someone that may not be “real. The exposure to many more people
through SNSs means that the peer influence from others may also be greater: driving the need to
present self-images which either fit in, or stand out as different/unique. Forging a stable identity in
relation to an online peer group, where everyone may not be who or what they purport to be, is
something that needs to be explored in future research. Spears and Costabile (2012) concluded that
the risks, opportunities and challenges of being on SNSs were intertwined, and that the positives
they experienced contributed to their identity development through enabling experimentation with
how they presented themselves to others.
ICTs have thus influenced the roles, functions and strategies known to build identity and
interpersonal relationships, along with young people’s cognitive and skills development.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
11
Adolescents and pre-adolescents psychological development is appearing to be impacted by the
pressure of ICTs and Web use, and these influences have to be considered in current and future
research on the positive impacts of technology on relationships in educational settings.
Learning from experience to improve cyber-behavior
In recent years important initiatives have been developed to promote positive and secure uses of
new technologies, especially in educational settings (Lau, Lau, Wong & Ransdell, 2011; Richards,
2009). The main thrust of these initiatives however, has been on the prevention of risk-related
behaviors such as cyberbullying, with the positive outcomes being achieved through students’
involvement in prosocial online behaviors, such as cybermentoring others (Perren, Corcoran,
Cowie, Dehue, Garcia et al., 2012).
Taking advantage of all that the Internet and social networks have to offer, along with the education
required to deal with eventual risks that may arise from its use, are new challenges for schools.
However, this does not mean that we must start from zero when developing positive cyber-
behaviors, as cyber-behavior is fundamentally a social activity (Livingstone & Haddon, 2011),
albeit one where physical and virtual lives are connected and inter-dependent (Casas, Del Rey &
Ortega-Ruiz, 2013). Indeed, the role of schools in the promotion of safe uses of new technologies
has been recognized by primary students, who consider that it is the best context to learn about
positive and secure uses of ICTs (O’Connel, Price & Barrow, 2004).
In order to respond to these challenges, it is pertinent to call upon previous professional and
scientific understandings: about how to improve interpersonal relations in school settings; how to
deal with interpersonal problems which may affect them, such as bullying; and how to identify the
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
12
keys for evaluating the effectiveness of such psycho-educational programs (Ttofi & Farrington,
2011).
Programs based on whole school approaches and policy (Smith, Pepler & Rigby, 2004) such as the
Finnish national school-based anti-bullying program (KiVa) (Salmivalli & Poskiparta, 2012) are
recognized as having a positive impact on reducing bullying, but are especially advantageous for
improving interpersonal relations, enhancing empathy towards the victims and developing defense
strategies for the victims. Likewise, developing any educational action or implementing an existing
program should respect evidence-based practices (Eisner & Malti, 2012).
Following these premises, psycho-educational programs evaluated using the criteria of practice
based on evidence, that obtain positive results in terms of quality of cyber-behavior and virtual
relations of adolescents, are usually those that are developed as an extension of, or complement
those that obtained positive results when tackling bullying: by enhancing the protection factors and
the reduction of risk factors.
Among them, we describe four programs developed and evaluated in different countries: The
ConRed Program - Knowing, Building and Living Together on Internet and Social Networks (Del
Rey, Casas & Ortega-Ruiz, 2012; Ortega-Ruiz, Del Rey & Casas, 2012); the
Noncadiamointrappola Program (Menesini & Nocentini, 2012; Palladino, Nocentini & Menesini,
2012); and the Medienhelden Program -Media Heroes (Schultze-Krumbholz, Wölfer, Jäkel,
Zagorscak & Scheithauer, 2012). Finally the Cybermentors program is presented.
(1) The ConRed Program
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
13
The ConRed Program (Ortega-Ruiz, Del Rey & Casas, 2012) has been developed in Secondary
Education Schools in Spain that were already employing a convivencia project: which showed
improved interpersonal relations between pupils (Ortega-Ruiz & Del Rey, 2004). On the basis of
the theory of normative social behavior (Rimal, Lapinski, Cook & Real, 2005), where individuals
attitudes and behaviors are heavily influenced by perceptions of the social conventions that
surround them, the ConRed Program intended: to show adolescents the legal issues related to
actions of misconduct in virtual environments; to inform of the risks that certain virtual behaviors
may face; and to explain how certain behaviors do not reinforce groups, but stimulate rejection and
intimidation. Using pupils, teachers and families, these three objectives were approached from the
perspective of positive psychology (Affleck & Tennen, 1996) and were reinforced by a campaign
for increasing awareness. The work with the pupils was developed during a one-hour session per
week over eight weeks. In addition to their presence in the pupils’ sessions, the teachers were
involved in two sessions and for families, one single evening session was devised. Several videos,
virtual spaces and news from the press were analyzed during these sessions.
The evaluation showed that, in experimental schools versus controls, not only was the quality of
pupils virtual interactions improved, but also their physical/offline lives at school. With regard to
the use of social networks and the Internet, pupils were more aware about the need to control their
private information on the Internet; there were lower levels of dependency relating to connecting to
the Internet; and lower levels of cyber-aggression and cyber-victimization. With respect to face-to-
face relations, after the program pupils perceived fewer security problems in their schools; better
quality of school climate; and even lower levels of traditional bullying, particularly with regard to
victimization; and higher levels of empathy. Today, the ConRed Program is generally
acknowledged in Spanish schools and is considered as a reference/benchmark by certain regional
governments of the country.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
14
(2) The Noncadiamointrappola Program
The Noncadiamointrappola Program (Menesini & Nocentini, 2012) is a peer counseling program
that was designed and implemented in Italy for the prevention and reduction of bullying, by training
pupils to help their friends/mates in their social relations. This approach is based on the assumption
that peers are an important influence on each other, not only in terms of social and academic
learning, but also with regards to the social norms that students consider as acceptable or
unacceptable in their peer relationships. The first edition of the program (Menesini & Nocentini,
2012) included a face-to-face and an online intervention, both led by peer-educators who were
previously selected and trained. The focus of the face-to-face intervention followed three
components: a meeting with students, in which peer educators explained and discussed
cyberbullying with their friends/mates. The second component involved a meeting with institutions
in the city about the problems of youth, and the third involved the preparation of a TV program
regarding cyberbullying. The online intervention involved the creation of a school forum, where the
peer-educators were the forum moderators.
The first evaluation of the project showed ambiguous results. Specifically, the results showed a
decrease in cyberbullying, but only for male educators, and not in the rest of the groups, as expected
from previous studies (Ttofi & Farrington, 2011). However, in the second edition of the
Noncadiamointrappola Program (Palladino et al., 2012) the authors made a considerable effort to
enhance the capacity of peer educators to encourage the participation of more friends/mates, in
order to improve their respective classes. The authors also considered the mediating effect of coping
strategies in the effectiveness of the program. While developing the program, an emphasis was put
on effective strategies for the victims and bystanders to deal with cyber-bullying episodes. Positive
results were obtained at the time of the 2nd evaluation. In terms of behavioral change, the program
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
15
was effective in the reduction of cybervictimization for the experimental group and, regarding
coping strategies, the evaluation showed that the capacity of pupils to deal with problems was
increased. The most important results came from the mediating effect of coping strategies in the
decrease of bullying and cyberbullying. Results showed that a reduction in the strategy of avoidance
predicted a decrease for victimization and, in contrast, an increase in the use of problem solving,
predicted a decrease in cyber victimization, but only in the peer-educator group.
The second edition of the program seemed to support the efficacy of the peer-model in decreasing
bullying and cyberbullying behavior; and enhancing the use of adaptive strategies to cope.
Considering that it was training intended for peer-educators, it could also be used for improving
interpersonal relationships, not only face-to-face but also those relations which operate across the
online medium. Clearly, the importance of learning from what has gone before is noted. Refining
the program, based on the evidence gather previously, has resulted in an effective program. The
learning here is that it may not always be necessary to design new approaches, rather, refinement of
the practices, based upon evidence may see change occurring.
(3) The Medienhelden-Media Heroes- Program
The Medienhelden-Media Heroes (Schultze-Krumbholz et al., 2012) is a program based on the
Theory of Reasoned Action and cognitive-behavioral methods that intend to improve digital
competencies and prevent cyber-bullying. Through the use of a specific purpose-designed manual,
teachers are trained and supervised to develop the program as an integrated aspect within the
existing school curriculum in middle-aged school classes (12-16 years). Teacher training lasts 8
hours and the work to be developed with pupils may take either a long or short version. The former
lasts seven weeks with fourteen sessions and an evening for family training. The latter consists only
of a single day with four sessions, and without family training.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
16
In order to achieve a change in students virtual behaviors, the main focuses of the program are:
providing information and knowledge; exploring values and norms; and identifying social
emotional competencies which are presented in the structured manual as “Media heroes”. The
proposed work sequence is as follows: increasing awareness of pupils about possible consequences
of their actions on the Internet; and looking for change in their behaviors and having positive
experiences. Different activities were performed throughout, such as: peer to peer tutoring; peer to
parent monitoring; and role plays. The evaluation aimed to determine: involvement in cyber-
bullying; levels of empathy; perspective taking; self-esteem; and subjective health. Results showed
that: control schools were worse with respect to the posttest, than the pretest; and that experimental
schools using the short intervention performed the same as control schools. Experimental schools
using the long intervention obtained better results overall. Medienhelden was perceived by teachers
as being highly applicable as a school based program, and about half of the pupils liked the program
a lot or mostly. Currently, analysis of third phase data that was collected after six months following
the finalization of the implementation is being undertaken, with a view to improving the materials.
A relevant datum to be noted for future interventions: it has been shown that isolated interventions
do not seem to have great positive effects and therefore, time and effort need to be invested, in
following up and revisiting the materials.
(4) Cybermentors: https://cybermentors.org.uk/
CyberMentors was one of the first forms of virtual peer support launched by Beatbullying, a leading
UK anti-bullying charity, in 2009. Students, usually recruited in schools, were trained by
Beatbullying staff in 2-day training workshops. CyberMentors mentor online in and out of school;
have an online identity and are protected from abuse by a software filter called netmod. They are
supported through the CyberMentors website by a referral team of senior cybermentors and
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
17
counsellors. The scheme was evaluated by Banerjee, Robinson and Smalley (2010) who found that
the CyberMentor scheme reduced bullying in five intervention schools. Beatbullying’s training was
highly regarded and the CyberMentors were found to raise awareness of bullying and cyberbullying
in schools and were particularly effective at transition for younger students. There was an increase
in both the understanding of bullying and reporting of bullying incidents in the student population.
Students using the scheme found the CyberMentors easy to contact and helpful to an extent.
However, schools varied in their promotion of the schemes and the supervision of mentors; not all
school staff was engaged and the scheme needed ongoing monitoring.
A second evaluation of the CyberMentor scheme was carried out by Thompson, Robinson and Smith
(in press) as part of a DAPHNE III project. CyberMentors and cybermentees were asked to complete an
online questionnaire on the CyberMentors’ website at the end of a mentoring session. Almost all
respondents were female aged 15 years. Most CyberMentors had been newly trained in the last year and
thought the training had prepared them well. They found the website easy to use and felt safe and well
supported. “You feel that you can help people out and this will mak e a big difference to their lives, no
matter how big or small their problem was”
CyberMentees found it easy to contact and talk to a cybermentor, most finding the cybermentors
advice helpful. They would use the cybermentor scheme again and also recommend it to a friend. Most
comments about the scheme were positive: “The good part about the session was being to tell someone
I dont know everything and just let it out without getting criticised
The main shortcoming of the scheme is the lack of engagement of young males. Although this
gender imbalance is evident in most face-to-face peer support schemes (Cowie & Smith, 2010), it is
surprising that an online scheme where the cybermentee’s identity is anonymous still fails to engage
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
18
boys and young men. This was the main finding of the evaluation and needs addressing. However,
overall those who used the scheme gave positive feedback.
It is evident from these interventions/programs that employing the positive aspects of ICTs in order
to address the negative is a worthwhile strategy: where the prevention of risk-related behaviors, is
achieved through involvement in pro-social online activity. That is, it assumes that a form of
inoculation takes place when positive ideas, attitudes and behaviors are introduced and reinforced,
which grow and spread, so that negative behaviors are reduced.
The role of adults in promoting positive uses of technology
(1) Guidance in Ethical Peer Networking
Greater understanding is needed to find ways in which young people can be encouraged and guided
to engage pro-socially in peer networking and to avoid antisocial uses of new technologies. Direct
guidance should be provided for young people about how they should act and communicate online,
and how they could protect themselves from being hurt by their virtual peers.
According to Pörhölä and Lahti (2012), who summarized the extant literature at the time, children
and adolescents use multiple forms of information and communication technology to establish peer
relationships and to maintain and enlarge their social networks. They use this technology as a
communication channel to expand their physical environments into online ‘virtual rooms where
they continue sharing their social experiences with their friends and unknown peers at any time of
the day or night. Social interaction with peers thus appears to be the most important function of
ICTs for children and adolescents (Kaare, Brandtzæg, Heim & Endestad 2007; Pelastakaa 2009;
Subrahmanyam, Greenfield, Kraut & Gross 2001), suggesting that a substantial part of their
cognitive and emotional experiences, learning, seeking play and having fun, and relationship and
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
19
identity building take place online. Being able to interact online is perceived by adolescents to have
positive impacts on the quality of their friendships and romantic relationships (e.g., Blais, Craig,
Pepler, & Connolly, 2008; Lenhart, Rainie, & Lewis, 2001; Valkenburg & Peter, 2007), and enable
them to keep in contact even with long-distance peers (Lenhart et al., 2001; Lenhart, Purcell, Smith
& Zickuhr, 2010). Via the Internet, children and adolescents can thus: share concerns and emotions;
give and ask for social support; build their identity by, for example, uploading photos and different
kinds of texts in web galleries; engage in playing online games; share music, movies, software and
other files; join virtual communities and meet new peers with similar interest and hobbies (see
Pörhölä & Lahti, 2012, for a review).
Being in these virtual rooms however, affects the cycle of real-life relationships: introductions,
development and closures. The anonymity provided by these virtual rooms enables harmful
communication practices such as cyberbullying, or concealing one’s real identity, pretending to be
someone else, or adopting an imaginary identity (Kaare et al. 2007; Lenhart et al. 2001; Sjöberg
2002; Smith & Curtin 2001).
The following recommendations are made, premised upon current understanding of the interplay
between the online and offline environments for young people, and the need for transferability of
pro-social skills. Firstly, pro-social interactions with peers online require similar peer interaction
skills as in face-to-face situations. In order to establish and maintain positive peer relationships and
join peer groups online, young people should be able to, for example, display initiative and
commitment in their online interpersonal and group relationships, acknowledge others equally and
be sensitive to their needs and desires, interpret social situations and accommodate others’
communications pro-socially, give and receive feedback constructively, as well as possess good
conflict management and mediation skills. Explicit training in these skills should be undertaken,
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
20
consistently, and repeatedly, not only at school and after-school activities, but also at home with
parents and siblings.
Secondly, as parents, teachers, and other adults are seldom present in young people’s social
networking activities, children and adolescents create their own norms and rules for their online
interactions. What adults can do is to have discussions with young people about the ethical stance of
their norms and rules. In order to be able to discuss the ethical issues of online peer interactions,
adults do not need to know the special characteristics of each application used by young people.
Instead, they can direct young people’s attention towards identifying the violations of ethical
practices in their own and others’ communications and behaviors when online, together appraising
the consequences and finally encouraging them to avoid such violations. Young people should have
guided training in ethical online interactions such as taking others into account, showing
friendliness, avoiding hurting, encouraging others, and giving support.
Thirdly, parent and student unions as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could take an
active role in increasing awareness and understanding of matters related to young people’s peer
relationships and uses of ICTs, and guide the associated perceptual and learning processes. Children
and adolescents should be made aware of social networking services which are safe and appropriate
for individuals in their age, and they should have equal skills and facilities to use these services. At
the same time, being aware of the risks associated with online interaction with known and unknown
individuals is crucial for their safety and well-being.
Internet social forums such as Habbo Hotel and IRC-Galleria, which have been developed in
Finland to promote childrens and adolescents’ constructive peer networking and support the
positive development of their peer relationships, provide platforms where children and adolescents
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
21
can interact and socialize. As these virtual social forums are very popular amongst children and
adolescents, they also provide an arena for online youth work and many NGOs have extended their
work from authentic real-life fields into these online environments, making contact with young
people who spend a lot of time online. Policemen, nurses and youth workers are thus available for
real-time online chats with young people, answering their questions on different issues such as
drugs, alcohol, peer relationships, and bullying. Experiences from these activities have shown that
there is a definite need for youth work services online.
These kinds of online services could also help in disseminating information, for example, about the
social and legal aspects and consequences of substance abuse, bullying and cyberbullying, and
about effective coping methods and support available. These types of web sites could also provide
an interactive forum for young people for sharing their concerns, ideas and experiences, getting peer
and professional support, learning and enlarging their understanding of issues interesting to them, in
a safe virtual environment, which would be moderated/monitored by adults. Professionals of
different kinds (e.g. youth social workers, communication experts, psychologists, and police and
legal experts) could be on call at particular hours, discussing online with youth about their concerns
and giving them advice.
Finally, it is worth noting that children and adolescents are also in a key position to transfer
knowledge about the Internet and its applications to older generations. Attention should be paid to
creating more dialogue between young people and adults (e.g. teachers, parents, administrators,
politicians) about the use of ICTs among youth. Those who know best are young people who have
gained the most up-to-date and diversified knowledge about the digital youth cultures emerging on
the Internet. Therefore they should be invited and trained to educate parents, teachers, policy
makers and other adults who work with young people, and to help these adults to understand what
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
22
kind of sites and services adolescents use online and why. These kinds of experiments have already
been successfully conducted, for example, in Finland (Mediaskooppi, 2007; see Pörhölä & Lahti
2012, for a review).
(2) Integrating ICTs into Teaching and Learning
Another positive use of new technologies, and one which specifically requires the positive input
from adults, concerns the direct use of ICTs in teaching and learning. When used as an educational
tool, ICT has the potential to inform changes to teaching and learning strategies in schools and to
foster motivation for learning (Rau, Gao & Wu, 2008). Using ICTs effectively for teaching and
learning however, requires that a fundamental re-orientation or at least a reflection of one’s teaching
and pedagogy has to take place (Schober, Wagner, Reimann & Spiel, 2008). This process of re-
orientation involves consideration of: the learning requirements (active “knowledge construction
“by the learner); the qualification and task profile of teachers and students (specific e-learning
didactics); a modification of interaction and communication patterns (at least partly computer based
communication); as well as learning styles of the students (predominant self-regulated learning)
(Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2004; Kerr, Rynearson & Kerr, 2006; Stokes, 2000). However, in Europe to
date, there appears to be a lack of concrete advice on how to effectively use ICTs in teaching which
take cognizance of these issues.
The following recommendations are made to support teachers and instructors in effectively
integrating ICTs in their teaching and are based on the evaluation results of the project “E-learning
and E-teaching in notebook classes(Dorninger & Horschinegg, 2002), which provides a positive
example of ICT use in school contexts (Popper & Spiel, 2010; Popper et al., 2012). Furthermore,
findings from the Vienne E-Lecturing (VEL) project are considered (Schober et al., 2008).
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
23
Recommendations are provided for the preparation of lessons and the implementation of the lessons
(= teaching) (for details see Spiel & Popper, 2003).
Recommendations for the preparation of lessons
Preparation of lessons using ICTs are significantly different to preparation of traditional lessons.
For the effective use of ICTs the modification of traditional lessons is not recommended, rather, that
new concepts are developed and trialled. There are many more learning materials available when
considering online teaching and learning, not only books, however, these materials have to be
searched for, selected and prepared so as to relate to the teaching and learning context in which they
will be employed. Therefore, ensuring that there is enough time allocated for these tasks is
important and exchanges with colleagues and support by students is strongly recommended.
In contrast to traditional teaching, more written information has to be given to the students, which
also needs advanced preparation. For example, it is strongly recommended that the learning goals
be presented as concretely as possible in written form. To support a collaborative working
environment, respective tasks for student teams have to be prepared in detail. Here, is has to be
considered, and taken into account, that working in virtual teams might be a new experience for
students. Therefore, such tasks have to be supported and carefully prepared by the teachers.
It has been shown that the explicit presentation of pedagogical goals as e.g., working
collaboratively, supports learning motivation in students. Consequently, to use ICTs effectively, in
the beginning, greater effort and investment in preparation is necessary than may be required for the
preparation of traditional lessons. In the long run a positive return on the investment of time and
effort, can be expected. Written materials can be used repeatedly and subsequent modifications are
simple. Furthermore, in the case of students’ absences it is much easier for them to comprehend
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
24
what has been going on in the meantime. Last but not least, an increase in using written tasks,
learning materials etc. supports the development of standards and therefore contributes to quality
assurances in schools.
Recommendations for the implementation of the lessons (= teaching)
There are also significant changes in teaching required if using ICTs systematically within lessons.
For example, it is much easier to explain complex and abstract topics by using internet software to
illustrate its practical relevance. Furthermore, there are also positive effects on students’ self-
regulatory and collaborative work competences. In the beginning, however, students need support
in how to work effectively with the ICTs. Consequently, recommendations are especially addressed
towards the introduction phase, when both teachers and students are not familiar with this kind of
teaching. Here, a decrease in communication among students and between students and teachers is a
possible risk. Therefore, one recommendation is to differentiate between time periods when using
the internet and time periods when not. Using ICTs also increases the possibilities of different
problems e.g., concerning technical configuration. It is recommended that the establishment of a
system of mutual support amongst students be established from the beginning. In particular, it is
helpful to integrate support from students who are more advanced in using ICTs, as class mentors,
to overcome any possible risk of an increasing gap between “good” and “poor” students in using
new technologies in the class. It is also recommended that when doing collaborative work, that
poorer students, be explicitly engaged and expected to contribute. As a specific challenge, learning
with ICT needs high levels of concentration. Such tasks as video-gaming or surfing the internet
reduce concentration on learning, hence it is recommended that an explicit discussion be had to
explore these risks with a view to enhancing students’ learning.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
25
In sum, it is strongly recommended that ICTs be integrated into teaching in schools, so that adults
can act as models and mentors in association with young people. Obviously, effort and engagement
is needed in establishing ICTs as educational tools. However, in the long run there are many
advantages concerning improved quality standards in teaching and in students motivation and
competencies.
Different sides of the same coin
The risks, challenges and opportunities from using social networking sites and social media, were
reported by the young people interviewed by Spears et al. (2012, pp. 18-19) to be closely
intertwined: the positive uses and impacts of technology were deemed to be the “flip side” of the
negative uses and impacts: and online and offline behaviors were considered “different sides of the
same coin”. Technology has thus become more than a transmitter or tool of information: it has
become an enabler of young people’s relationships, where being onmeans all day, every day, and
where both positive and negative aspects of relationships are encountered. For young people,
however, on and offline interactions represent a certain “sameness”, where friendship-driven
practices are the platform for all social interactions: be they positive or negative. These insights by
young people relate specifically to the ways in which social media and social networking sites in
particular, sustain and influence their friendships, as well as their capacity to manage and maintain
them.
The Role of Disinhibition
These two faces of the same issue, however: i.e. the possibilities of new knowledge, positive social
interactions, and emotional experiences versus the risks which are associated with being online,
such as cyberbullying, can also be depicted as existing along a continuum where it is very difficult
to trace a clear cut-off between the “bright” and the “dark side of the impact of ICTs. In order to
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
26
disentangle these two sides of the same coin, it may be helpful to consider the notion of
disinhibition, a process which occurs in online communications.
Prentice-Dunn and Rogers (1982) considered disinhibition as a product of a reduced awareness of
one’s public self, which led to a minor worry about other people’s judgements (Fenigstein, Scheier
& Buss, 1975; Joinson, 1998). Suler (2004) advanced this notion and suggested an online
disinhibitory effect”: whereby communicative exchanges are often are sent anonymously and are
characterised by the lack of face-to-face interactions, with an associated apparent reduction in the
worry about presenting oneself in public and others’ subsequent judgements: i.e., things can be said
and done online, with fewer immediate consequences for the perpetrator and subsequently, less
worry.
In this particular context social signals are easily repressed, and very often people behave in a way
they never would use in the offline experience. This online disinhibition can manifest itself in two
apparently opposite directions: a ‘benign disinhibition and a ‘toxic disinhibition’ (Suler, 2004,
Nicoletti & Gallingani, 2009). Benign disinhibition concerns individuals sharing very personal
things about themselves, revealing emotions, desires, fears and showing acts of generosity and
kindness to help others, without thought or fear of how others might view them. An example of this,
in a positive context, relates to online self-help groups: where people who have never met share
deep emotions that they would never share in the context of an offline relationship. Some
adolescents may confess their difficulties in socializing with peers, their doubts about sexuality or
sexual identity without fear of the consequences to themselves.
Benign disinhibition can thus lead to developed and improved awareness of self, or may foster
processes of identification with someone met online, helping to solve intrapsychic problems: thus
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
27
contributing to the positive side of this online ‘coin’. Benign disinhibition is also the underlying
process in online services aimed at providing psychological support and counselling to adolescents,
as reported, for instance, by Aoiul (2012). The same mechanism is called into question in services
designed to support victims of aggression (both online and offline) as reported by counselling
services in schools: “When the written word can be used synchronously, it combines the benefits of
immediacy and the online disinhibition effect which has potential to build or repair relationships”
(Glasheen & Campbell, 2012, p. 131).
Nicoletti and Gallingani (2009) indicated however, that discerning between a benign and a toxic
disinhibition is not so clear-cut. Toxic disinhibition represents the other side of the so-called ‘coin’,
the dark side of the disinhibition process online: and accounts for the free use of very often bad
language, harsh criticisms, and free expression of anger which easily escalates to the point where
threats occur. People can also visit online sites relating to violence, crime, pornography that in the
real world they would never explore. These disinhibitory processes may help to create a separate
dimension far from the demands and responsibility of the real world. How young people interact
with these forms of disinhibition require further examination, in terms of understanding how they
are using ICTs positively.
Real versus virtual self: Another two-sided coin
When people enter cyberspace, the real ‘I’ is substituted by the virtual I’ in a psychological
dimension, where it is possible to experience a sense of Self, which is no longer unitary but multiple
(Turkle, 1995; 2004;). Gergen (1991) describes the impact of this infinite range of options for the
Self as multiphrenia”, or rather, the experience in which our identities are defined and modeled by
too many choices of self-expression. These multiple identities change the modality of one’s relation
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
28
with oneself and may propose innovative dynamics. The phenomenon of gender switching online,
for example, can be one of those “benign” exploration of alternative self.
In adolescence this behaviour may contribute to exploring different dimensions of self-identity not
necessarily coinciding with actual sexual identity. The Internet, in fact, enables users to search for a
sexual identity, as anonymity provides the opportunity to pretend to be a representative of the
opposite sex (Kaare et al., 2007). Also the experiences carried on in virtual contexts (such as
Second Life) may help to explore different lifestyles, values, and even rule breaking, in a protected
environment wherein risky behaviours may be looked at without incurring harmful and dangerous
outcomes as would happen in real life. In real life, adolescents rarely have been given the
opportunity to exercise power or control, either physically or socially; and virtual worlds may offer
the unique opportunity of trialing choices, for instance, designing an Avatar and deciding on a wide
range of options: the physical design, the clothing, the items that they buy; they as well may test
how these factors may affect interactions with other participants of the community. This exposure
to a variety of social settings and circumstances may enable adolescents to master the skills required
in social situations in the offline world (for instance reflecting on self-presentation strategies), and
acquire a broadened view of themselves and the world around them.
Building on this notion of there being two sides of the same coin when it comes to understanding
online behaviors, it is evident from the contributors in the previously mentioned book (Costabile &
Spears, 2012) that many of the suggested interventions relied on building the positive side of the
‘coin’: strategies related to individual capacity, skills and positive behaviors, in order to counter the
negative side: the impacts associated with engaging in toxic social relationships online and offline.
Young people are using new technologies to forge relationships, to experiment with and challenge
identities and constructions of self, as well as practicing new ways of operating in a safe
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
29
environment. Social networks and other ICTs provide opportunities for both positive and negative
interactions, but it is through one, that the other comes to be understood.
Conclusion
Adults have never been teenagers in this online context, and cannot therefore fully understand the
experience which technology brings to this developmental period. To fully comprehend not only
how young people are using technologies and new social media generally, but also the benefits
which they perceive flow from their online engagement, young people must be at the centre of any
dialogue. However, it is also evident, that they need the counsel and guidance from adults in terms
of developing the normal range of social skills, such as peer group entry, making and keeping
friends, and conflict management, as applied to the online environment. Further to this, learning to
make ethical decisions about behaviors online requires some cognizance of their own development
and moral compass, and also that there is an online disinhibition effect in play, which encourages
freer commentary than is acceptable in a face-to-face situation.
The so-called ‘new sociology of childhood (Corsaro, 1997; James & Prout, 1997) has positioned
children and young people as having agency and power, as distinct from being merely passive
recipients of adult direction and supervision (see Chapter X). This is particularly salient for young
people’s use of ICTs and online behaviors and engagement: as they are actively involved in the
evolution of their relationships across on/offline boundaries. Spears et al. (2012) found from
speaking directly with youth from Australia, Denmark and Italy, and examining their individual and
collective lived realities, that the challenges of: managing personal information online; identity
formation; concerns about cyberbullying and cybersafety; and understanding the legal and copyright
aspects of being online were largely outweighed by the benefits they derived socially from being
online. What is important to recognize from the contributors to this chapter, is that there is a role for
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
30
adults, as learners, guides and mentors, rather than directors, in ensuring that positive impacts flow
from the ICTs they choose to engage with.
References
Affleck, G. & Tennen, H. (1996). Construing benefits from adversity: Adaptational significance and
dispositional underpinnings. Journal of Personality, 64(4), 112-124
Aouil, B. (2012). Online support in psychological and pedagogical practices. In A. Costabile & B.
Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 116-127).
London: Routledge.
Arnthórsson, H. (2012). Secure net addresses: secure internet and responsibility. In A. Costabile & B.
Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 22-29).
London: Routledge.
Banerjee, R., Robinson, C. & Smalley, D. (2010). Evaluation of the Beatbullying Peer Mentoring
Programme. Report for Beatbullying. University of Sussex.
Blais, J., Craig, W. Pepler, D. & Connolly, J. (2008). Adolescents online: The importance of
Internet activity choices to salient relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(5),
522-536.
Brighi, A., Fabbri, M., Guerra, L. & Pacetti, E. (2012). ICT and relationships: promoting positive
peer interactions In A. Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on
relationships in educational settings (pp. 45-54). London: Routledge.
Casas, J.A.; Del Rey, R. & Ortega-Ruiz, R. (2013). Bullying and cyberbullying: Convergent and
divergent predictor variables. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 580587.
Corsaro, W. (1997). The sociology of childhood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
Costabile, A., & Spears, B.A. (Eds.). (2012). The impact of technology on relationships in educational
settings. London: Routledge.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
31
Cowie, H. & Smith, P.K. (2010). Peer support as a means of improving school safety and reducing
bullying and violence. In B. Doll,W. Pfohl,& J. Yoon (Eds.). Handbook of Youth Prevention
Science. (pp. 177-193). New York: Routledge.
Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2004). Supporting self-regulation in student-centered web-based
learning environments. International Journal on E-Learning, 3, 40-47.
De Santo, E. & Costabile, A. (2012). Media education: a new academic curriculum. In A. Costabile
& B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 30-
42). London: Routledge.
Del Rey, R., Casas, J.A. & Ortega-Ruiz, R. (2012). The ConRed Program, an evidence based
practice. Comunicar, 39, 129-138.
Del Rey, R., Sánchez, V. & Ortega-Ruiz, R. (2012). Pro-social use of the internet in adolescence. In
A. Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational
settings (pp. 66-76). London: Routledge.
Dorninger, C. & Horschinegg, J. (2002). Mobile e-Learning und e-Teaching. Ein Modellprojekt mit
Schuelernotebooks an Oesterreichs Sekundarschulen [Mobile e-Learning und e-Teaching. A
model project with student notebooks at Austrian secondary schools], Die Deutsche Schule,
94(2), 247-256.
Eisner, M.P., & Malti, T. (2012). The future of research on evidence-based developmental violence
prevention. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 6(2), 166-175.
Erikson, E. (1968). Gioventù e crisi di identità. Armando: Rome.
Fenigstein A., Scheier M.F., & Buss A.H. (1975). Public and private self consciousness:
Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522-527.
Ferri, P. (2011). I nativi digitali. Milan: Mondadori.
Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7(2), 117-140.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
32
Gergen, K. (1991). The saturated self: dilemmas of identity in contemporary life. New York: Basic
Books.
Glasheen, K. & Campbell, M.A. (2012). Online counseling for enhancing relationships. In A.
Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational
settings (pp. 128-136). London: Routledge.
Greenfield, P. & Yan, Z. (2006). Children, adolescents, and the Internet: A new field of inquiry in
developmental psychology. Developmental Psychology, 42, 391-394.
Gruder, C. L. (1971). Determinants of social comparison choices. Journal of Experimental Social
Psychology, 7(5), 473-489.
Hayat, Z. & Amichai-Hamburger, Y. (2012). Kids in the fast lane: achieving wellbeing through
online support. In A. Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships
in educational settings (pp. 102-115). London: Routledge.
James, A., & Prout, A. (1997). Constructing and reconstructing childhood: Contemporary issues in
the sociological study of childhood. London: Falmer Press.
Johnson, G. M. (2008). Cognitive processing differences between frequent and infrequent Internet
users. Computers and Human Behavior, 24, 2094-2106.
Johnson, G. (2010). Young childrens Internet use at home and school: Patterns and profiles.
Journal of Early Childhood Research, 8(3), 282-293.
Joinson, A. (1998). Causes and implications of disinhibited behavior on the Internet. In J.
Gackenbach (Ed.), Psychology and the Internet: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and
transpersonal implications (pp. 43-60). San Diego: Academic Press.
Kaare, B.H., Brandtzæg, P.B., Heim, J. & Endestad, T. (2007). In the borderland between family
orientation and peer culture: the use of communication technologies among Norwegian
tweens’. New Media & Society, 9(4), 603624.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
33
Kerr, M., Rynearson, K., & Kerr, M. (2006). Student characteristics for online learning success.
Internet and Higher Education, 9, 91-105.
Lau, P.W.C, Lau, E.Y, Wong, D.P. & Ransdell, L. (2011). A systematic review of information and
communication technologybased interventions for promoting physical activity behavior
change in children and adolescents. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(3), e48
Retrieved April 19, 2013, from http://www.jmir.org/2011/3/e48/
Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010), Social media and mobile internet use
among teens and young adults. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Lenhart, A., Rainie, L. & Lewis, O. (2001). Teenage life online. Washington D.C: Pew Internet &
American Life Project.
Livingstone, S. & Haddon, L. (2011). Management report EU Kids Online II: enhancing knowledge
regarding European children’s use, risk and safety online. EU Kids Online Network, London,
UK.
Mediaskooppi (2007). Mediaskoopin Esittelydiat Englanniksi. Online. Retrieved April 23, 2010,
from http://www.mediaskooppi.net/aineistot/mediascope.pdf
Menesini, E., & Nocentini, A. (2012). Peer education intervention: Face-to-face versus online. In A.
Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational
settings (pp. 139-150). London: Routledge.
Nicoletti S. & Gallingani F. (2009). Behavioural psychopathology online and cyberbullying. In
M.L. Genta, A. Brighi & A. Guarini (Eds), Bullying and cyberbullying in adolescence (pp. .
Rome: Carocci.
O’Connel, R., Price, P., & Barrow, C. (2004). Emerging trend amongst primary school children’s
use of the Internet. Preston: University of Central Lancashire.
Ortega-Ruiz, R. & Del Rey, R. (2004). Construir la convivencia. Barcelona: Edebé.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
34
Ortega-Ruiz, R., Del Rey, R. & Casas, J.A. (2012). Empowering students against bullying and
cyberbullying: Evaluation of an Italian peer-led model. International Journal of Conflict and
Violence, 6(2), 313-320.
Palladino, B.E., Nocentini, A., & Menesini, E. (2012). Online and offline peer led models against
bullying and cyberbullying. Psicothema, 24, 634-639.
Palmonari, A. (2011). Psicologia dell’adolescenza. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Pelastakaa, L. (2009). Lapsen Ääni 2009. Helsinki, Finland: Pelastakaa Lapset ry.
Perren, S., Corcoran, L., Cowie, H., Dehue, F., García, J., Mc Guckin, C., Sevcikova, A.; Tsatsou.
P. & Völlink, T. (2012). Tackling cyberbullying: A review of empirical evidence regarding
successful responses by students, parents and schools. International Journal of Conflict and
Violence, 6, 2, 283-293.
.Popper, V. & Spiel, C. (2010). Entwicklung eines komplexen dreistufigen Evaluationsdesigns unter
schwierigen Rahmenbedingungen: Die Evaluation von Notebook-Klassen [Development of a
complex three-stage evaluation design under difficult conditions: Evaluation of notebook
classes]. Zeitschrift fǖr Evaluation, 9(1), 7-28.
Popper, V., Strohmeier, D. & Spiel, C. (2012). Using the internet positively in schools: The case
for notebooks. In A. Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships
in educational settings (pp. 77-90). London: Routledge.
Pörhölä, M. & Lahti, H. (2012). The use of interpersonal communication technologies to establish
and maintain peer relationships. In A. Costabile & B. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology
on relationships in educational settings (pp. 55-65). London: Routledge.
Poskiparta, E., Kaukiainen,A., Pöyhonen, V., & Salmivalli, C. (2012). Bullies’ and victims’
experiences of the anti-bullying game from the KiVa program. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears
(Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 158-168).
London: Routledge.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
35
Prentice-Dunn, S., & Rogers, R.W. (1982). Effects of public and private self-awareness on
deindividuation and aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 3, 503-
513.
Pyźalski, J. (2012). The digital generation gap revisited: constructive and dysfunctional patterns of
social media usage. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on
relationships in educational settings (pp. 91-101). London: Routledge.
Rau, P.P., Gao, Q. & Wu, L. (2008). Using mobile communication technology in high school
education: Motivation, pressure, and learning performance. Computers & Education, 50(1), 1-
22.
Richards, D. (2009). Features and benefits of online counselling at University: Trinity College
Online Mental Health Community. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 37(3), 231-
242.
Rimal, R., Lapinski, M., Cook, R. & Real, K. (2005). Moving toward a theory of normative
influences: How perceived benefits and similarity moderate the impact of descriptive norms
on behaviors. Journal of Health Communication, 10, 433-50.
Salmivalli, C. & Poskiparta, E. (2012). KiVa antibullying program: Overview of evaluation studies
based on a randomized controlled trial and national rollout in Finland. International Journal
of Conflict and Violence, 6(2), 293- 301.
Schober, B., Wagner, P., Reimann, R. & Spiel, C. (2008). Vienna E-Lecturing (VEL): Learning
how to learn self-regulated in an internet-based blended earning setting. International Journal
on e-Learning, 7 (4), 703-723.
Schultze-Krumbholz, A., Wölfer, R., Jäkel, A., Zagorscak, P., & Scheithauer, H. (2012). Prevention
of cyberbullying in Germany The Medienhelden Program. Paper presented at the
International Conference on Cyberbullying, 28-29 June, Paris.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
36
Sjöberg, U. (2002). Screen rites: A study of Swedish young people's use and meaning-making of
screen-based media in everyday life. Sweden: University of Lund,
Slee, P., Campbell, M, & Spears, B. (2012). Child, adolescent and family development. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Smith, P.K., Pepler, D. & Rigby, K. (Eds.) (2004). Bullying in schools: How successful can
interventions be? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, R. & Curtin, P. (2001). Children, computers and life online: education in a cyber-world. In I.
Snyder (Ed.), Page to screen: Taking literacy into the electronic era (pp. 213-234). London:
Routledge.
Spears, B. (2010). CyberChat #3: Tech-savvy Tots. Educational technology solutions, 37, 20.
Retrieved April 19, 2013 from
http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/speced2/files/links/Cyber_Chat_ETS37.pdf
Spears, B.A. (2012). A review of initiatives using technology to promote cyber-safety and digital
citizenship. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on relationships
in educational settings (pp. 188-203). London: Routledge.
Spears, B.A., & Costabile, A. (2012). Introduction. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.), The
impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 1-4). London: Routledge.
Spears, B.A., Kofoed, J., Bartolo, M.G., Palermiti, A., & Costabile, A. (2012). Positive uses of
social networking sites: Youth voice perspectives. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.), The
impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 7-21). London:
Routledge.
Spiel, C. & Popper, V. (2003). Evaluierung des oesterreichweiten Modellversuchs „E-Learning und
E-Teaching mit Schueler/-innen-Notebook s“. Abschlussbericht [Evaluation of the Austrian-
wide model test “E-learning and e-teaching with student notebooks”. Final report]. Vienna:
Bundesministerium fǖr Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
37
Stern, S. (2008). Producing sites, exploring identities: Youth online authorship. Youth, Identity, and
Digital Media. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning (pp. 95-118). Cambridge, MA: The MIT
Press.
Stokes, S. (2000). Preparing students to take online interactive courses. The Internet and Higher
Education, 2, 161-169.
Subrahmanyam, K., Greenfield, P.M., Kraut, R. & Gross, E. (2001). The impact of computer use on
children's and adolescent's development. Applied Developmental Psychology, 22, 7-30.
Suler, J. (2004). The online disinhibition effect. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 7, 3, 321-326.
Thompson, F., Robinson, S. & Smith, P. K. (in press). An evaluation of some cyberbullying
interventions in England. In M. L. Genta, A. Brighi, A. Guarini (eds.), Cyberbullismo: Ricerche e
Strategie di Intervento (Cyberbullying research and intervention strategies). Milano: Franco
Angeli.
Ttofi, M., & Farrington, D.P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A
systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7, 27-56.
Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of internet. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Turkle, S. (2004). Whither psychoanalysis in computer culture? Psychoanalytic Psychology, 21 (1),
16-30.
Valcke, M., De Wever, B., Van Keer, H., & Schellens, T. (2011). Long term study of safe internet
use of young children. Computers & Education, 57(1), 1292-1305.
Valkenburg, P.M. & Peter, J. (2007). Preadolescents' and adolescents' online communication and
their closeness to friends. Developmental Psychology, 43(2), 267277.
von Kaenel-Flatt, J. & Douglas, T. (2012) Cybermentoring. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.),
The impact of technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 151-157). London:
Routledge.
Barbara Spears, Angela Costabile, Antonella Brighi, Rosario Del Rey, Maila Pörhölä, Virginia Sanchez, Christiane Spiel, Fran
Thompson, Positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings, in P. K. Smith and G. Steffgen, (Eds),
Cyberbullying through the new media: findings from an international network, Psychology Press, London, 2013, pp. 178-200.
38
Wolke, D. & Sapouna, M. (2012). FearNot!: an innovative interdisciplinary virtual intervention to
reduce bullying and victimization. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.), The impact of
technology on relationships in educational settings (pp. 169-177). London: Routledge
Wotherspoon, A.J., Cox, G. & Slee, P.T. (2012). Using mobile phones to counter cyberbullying: an
innovative project. In A. Costabile & B.A. Spears (Eds.), The impact of technology on
relationships in educational settings (pp. 178-187). London: Routledge.
... Costabile, A., Brighi, A., Del Rey, R., Pörhölä, M., Sanchez, V., Spiel, Ch., Thompson, F. (2014). Positive uses of new technologies, in relationships in educational settings. ...
Book
Full-text available
Program profilaktyczny IMPACT ("Interdisciplinary Model of Counteracting Aggression and Technological Cyberbullying") to pierwszy na gruncie polskim, zintegrowany projekt przeciwdziałania cyberprzemocy łączący aspekty: psychologiczny (Uniwersytet Warszawski), pedagogiczny (Instytut Medycyny Pracy w Łodzi) i technologiczny (Politechnika Warszawska) z aplikacyjnym wdrożeniem przez 2 partnerów z sektora NGO (Fundacja Praesterno i FDDS). Projekt finansowany jest przez NCBIR z konkursu Innowacje Społeczne (IS-2/31/NCBiR/2015). Zainteresowani pracownicy pedagogiczni znajdą w nim zarówno materiały jak również ich szczegółowy opis umożliwiający realizację zajęć (10 lekcji). Program profilaktyczny został opracowany tak, aby kolejne lekcje można było realizować zarówno w całości, jak i niezależnie od siebie. Dodatkowo, z całego programu można wyjąć pewne bloki tematyczne i w razie potrzeby realizować je odrębnie. Bloki tematyczne, które można realizować odrębnie to: - Kompetencje psychologiczne wspierające pozytywne zachowania w internecie - O zjawisku agresji elektronicznej – ofiara, świadek i sprawca - Pozytywne wykorzystanie możliwości internetu - Prywatność i bezpieczeństwo w sieci Dodatkowo, wybrane lekcje programu można rozbudowywać, a niektóre ćwiczenia zastępować ich wersjami alternatywnymi (wg wskazówek w poszczególnych scenariuszach).
... Internet overuse in the current sample of Italian adolescents is marginally higher when it is associated with intrapersonal factors rather than interpersonal ones. The effects, however, are significant for both IREQ-I factors and can be explained by considering the constant daily interaction that adolescents establish with the Internet and with social networking sites (Kuss et al., 2013;Spears et al., 2012). ...
Article
Introduction: The continued progression of the digital age raises the question of Internet and social media abuse among adolescents and of the need for more specific assessment instruments to measure the phenomenon. Objective: The purpose of the current study was to explore the role of intrapersonal and interpersonal factors influencing Internet addiction, as well as to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Internet Related Experiences Questionnaire (IREQ-I) in relation to a sample of Italian adolescents. Method: Two studies were designed. In study 1, a school-based sample of 838 Italian adolescents was recruited to test the psychometric properties of the IREQ-I by using a robust Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). In study 2, a total of 438 Italian adolescents were recruited to investigate the concurrent validity of the instrument. Results: We found that intrapersonal rather than interpersonal factors were associated with Internet abuse. The final version of the IREQ-I showed a good level of fit and the bi-factorial solution was consistent with the previous findings. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the IREQ-I is a valuable bifactorial instrument for measuring Internet abuse, including both intrapersonal and interpersonal factors as theoretically relevant constructs.
... En relación al acoso tradicional, se ha constatado que el liderazgo prosocial está asociado con la disminución de la agresión, la victimización y los problemas emocionales de los adolescentes (Leadbeater, Thompson y Sukhawathanakul, 2016;Spears et al., 2013). Asimismo, la inteligencia emocional está directamente relacionada con la implicación en bullying, llegando a considerarse como una clave relevante para prevenir y afrontar este fenómeno . ...
... Del Rey, Sánchez and Ortega (2012) focused on prosocial cyberbehavior fi nding that students´ knowledge on this topic is scarce. Information and communication technologies can be positively used in educational settings (Spears et al., 2013). The number of studies on emotional content in cyberspace is low. ...
Article
Background: Studies on emotional intelligence show that some of its dimensions are related to psychological adjustment and the quality of interpersonal relationships. Besides face-to-face interaction, nowadays, relationships are also initiated and maintained in cyberspace. Some studies suggest that emotional content is present in cyber-behavior. The objective of this study was to reveal whether emotions are expressed, perceived and managed online – a concept called E-motions, and to validate an instrument to measure this concept. Method: The E-motions Questionnaire was designed and together with other instruments, completed by 612 university students. Then, the questionnaire was completed by a representative sample of 2139 students in compulsory secondary education in 22 schools in all Andalusian provinces. The first sample was used for exploratory factor analysis and the second sample for confirmatory factor analysis. Results: The E-motions Questionnaire was validated with good psychometric properties. Four factors were found showing that emotions are perceived, expressed, used, understood and managed online. This behavior is related to some aspects of emotional intelligence and also to difficulties in identifying feelings. Conclusions: This new promising research field could be useful for further advancement of research into cyber-behavior.
... No obstante, cabe resaltar que los entornos virtuales también pueden ser espacios idóneos para fortalecer la amistad (Amichai-Hamburger, Kingsbury y Schneider, 2013), convirtiéndose su estudio en una fuente de desarrollo de prácticas de mejora de la convivencia. En este sentido, en los últimos años, en el marco de los trabajos sobre mejora de la convivencia, se ha comenzado el estudio de estas relaciones desde una perspectiva positiva, proponiendo el constructo de ciberconvivencia (Ortega-Ruiz, Casas y Del Rey, 2014), que supone el reconocimiento de la existencia de relaciones interpersonales positivas en contextos virtuales, donde las personas muestran actitudes prosociales, diálogo y respeto mutuo, junto a la necesidad de que los agentes que intervienen en el ámbito escolar asuman que se puede avanzar en la mejora de las redes sociales virtuales en las que participan los escolares (Spears et al., 2013). ...
Article
El cyberbullying es un fenómeno complejo, difícil de definir y comprender y a su vez con graves implicaciones sociales y personales. Por ello, se están realizando grandes esfuerzos para avanzar en esta línea de investigación emergente que está siendo muy fructífera a nivel nacional e internacional. No obstante, dada su complejidad y la rápida evolución de las tecnologías de información y comunicación, existe la necesidad de avanzar y profundizar aún más en su estudio. El trabajo científico en este campo se ha realizado, sobre todo, desde la psicología educativa y sus hallazgos son la base para las primeras intervenciones psicoeducativas. Para promover el avance de este campo y la transferencia de conocimiento a la práctica profesional, este artículo introductorio describe brevemente la investigación sobre el ciberacoso junto a las cuestiones que todavía quedan por explorar e introduce el monográfico internacional sobre la ciberconducta y la psicología educativa. Este monográfico, publicado en el presente número de la revista Psicología Educativa, tiene como objetivo contribuir al desarrollo de este campo científico emergente.
Chapter
The aim of the study was to describe how 12–13 and 15–16 years old Estonian students perceived cyberbullying, in the context of cyberbullying criteria and type of cyberbullying behaviour, and if any differences occurred between the age groups. The questionnaire sample consisted of 325 adolescents from two age groups: 12–13 (49%) and 15–16 (51%) year olds. Data were analysed and statistical comparisons made between the two age groups. The results revealed that scenarios involving power imbalance criteria were labelled more as cyberbullying and were evaluated more severe among both age groups, than all the other cyberbullying criteria scenarios. Two criteria specific to the cyber context (publicity and anonymity) were not so important for students in order to label behaviour as cyberbullying. Impersonation and visual cyberbullying represented the cyberbullying construct better, with no differences between the two age groups, and were considered more serious than written–verbal behaviour and exclusion.
Chapter
This chapter will provide an overview of the international research relating to bullying and victimization with a focus on the Pacific-rim region. Historical, cultural and social factors related to school bullying, victimization and pro-social behaviour will provide a backdrop to the discussion. Consideration will be given to the fact that bullying is a violation of a young person’s rights. In this regard the important topic of the relationship between bullying and the law will be discussed and examples provided of how a range of countries are addressing the matter. The emergence of cyber bullying will be discussed and the role of technology in the everyday conduct of young people’s relationships will be outlined.
Article
Full-text available
The effects of a Finnish national school-based antibullying program (KiVa) were evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (2007-2009) and during nationwide implementation (since 2009). The KiVa program is been found to reduce bullying and victimization and increase empathy towards victimized peers and self-efficacy to support and defend them. KiVa increases school liking and motivation and contributes to significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and negative peer perceptions. Somewhat larger reductions in bullying and victimization were found in the randomized contr