Cyber victimization and adjustment difficulties: The mediation of Chinese and American adolescents’ digital technology usage

Special issue: Mediation of Children´s ICT Usage

Researchers have focused on identifying factors which might reduce the negative consequences associated with cyber victimization. One prominent factor receiving attention is the role of parental mediation in adolescents’ digital technology usage, and how such mediation reduces the risk of cyber victimization. Less attention has focused on different mitigating agents (i.e., teachers, friends) and their influence on adolescents’ cyber victimization. Another area that has received little attention is the buffering effects of different mitigating agents on the psychosocial adjustment difficulties (i.e., depression, loneliness, anxiety) associated with cyber victimization. To address this gap in the literature, the present study investigated the role of different mitigating agents (i.e., parents, teachers, friends) in buffering against the psychosocial adjustment difficulties associated with cyber victimization among 483 Chinese (49% female) and 467 American (52% female) adolescents in the eighth grade (ages ranging from 13-15). Findings revealed that all adolescents experienced more mediation by their parents, with Chinese adolescents reporting more parental mediation when compared to American adolescents. Chinese adolescents also reported more teacher mediation, while American adolescents experienced more friend mediation. In addition, high levels of parental mediation made the relationship of cyber victimization to depression and anxiety more negative for both Chinese and American adolescents. The relationships of cyber victimization to depression and anxiety were moderated by teacher mediation for Chinese adolescents, whereas this pattern was not found for American adolescents. On the other hand, friend mediation moderated the relationship of cyber victimization to depression and anxiety for American adolescents, but not for Chinese adolescents. The results of this study are discussed in terms of cultural values and how such values alter the role of adults and friends in adolescents’ lives.

cyber victimization; mediation; depression; anxiety; loneliness
Author biography

Michelle F. Wright

Author photo Michelle F. Wright is a postdoctoral research fellow at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. Her major research interests include the contextual influences, particularly cultural and familial, on adolescents’ social behaviors, and their pursuit and achievement of peer status. For the past several years, she has studied victimization and aggression through electronic technologies among children, adolescents, and young adults.

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