As the holidays approach, I always think about the number of parents planning to buy their children cell phones as gifts. Every year it seems that more and more children younger than teen years are receiving gifts that can keep them connected to the internet and their friends 24/7. I didn’t receive my first cell phone until I was in high school, and I only got one because I was taking school trips and my mom wanted to be able to get a hold of me. Nowadays you see kids walking around with phones, watching iPads in restaurants, and ignoring everything around them with earbuds in and eyes planted to screen. While I’m sure most parents don’t see a problem with this, some research has shown that the 24/7 use of technology can actually turn into ABUSE and is connected with bullying.
Nasaescu, Marin-Lopez, Llorent, Ortega-Ruiz, and Zych (2018) researched how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) were linked to bullying, and other adolescent communication and emotional development. The idea behind their study was that bullying victimization, as well as perpetration, are connected to avoidance of face-to-face relationships and interactions (Nasaescu et al., 2018). With that idea in mind, it’s plausible to think that technology use and abuse are connected to bullying because it is easy to be a bully when you can send a terrible IM or email, or troll someone on the internet for others to see and participate in.
The results of the study did show a link between technology abuse and bullying, especially for perpetrators (Nasaescu et al., 2018). This link could be related to low social and emotional competencies, for perpetrators and victims, so futures studies should focus on programs that can be implemented to combat competency issues (Nasaescu et al., 2018). I think this type of research is important not just for scientists, psychologists, and future social psychologists but also for parents. Is the abuse of technology causing low social and emotional competency? Do children that have low competency skills simple abuse technology more? Either way, bullying is a very serious matter in school, and it could be that giving our kids technological devices too young is leading to lower competencies and higher levels and more opportunities to bully.
Nasaescu, E., Marín-López, I., Llorent, V. J., Ortega-Ruiz, R., & Zych, I. (2018). Abuse of technology in adolescence and its relation to social and emotional competencies, emotions in online communication, and bullying. Computers in Human Behavior, 88, 114-120. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1016/j.chb.2018.06.036