Cyber aggression: The relation between online offenders and offline social competence


Children are increasingly using computer technologies to engage in acts of aggression against peers, often termed 'cyber aggression'. Media reports have sensationalized instances of cyber aggression, and social scientists have begun to examine its characteristics and consequences. Using a younger sample of children than most previous research (192 third- through sixth-grade children), the present research evaluated grade and gender effects on cyber aggression and, most importantly, evaluated the classroom peer social consequences of engaging in cyber aggression, after controlling for traditional, face-to-face aggression. Children reported engaging in cyber aggression at comparable rates across grades and between males and females. Engaging in cyber aggression was related to higher rates of loneliness and lower rates of global self-worth, peer optimism, number of mutual friendships, social acceptability, and popularity. In short, after controlling for effects attributable to traditional aggression, cyber aggression was related to significant negative peer relations outcomes. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2011.

Publication Title

Social Development