When we typically think of kids who are the victims of school bullying, what comes to mind are isolated youth who do not fit in. A new study, however, shows that when that harassment occurs online, the victims tend to be in mainstream social groups — and they are often friends or former friends, not strangers.
The research is part of a burgeoning field of study into the effects of social media on everyday relationships and behavior. Personality and social psychologists are finding surprising ways in which people’s online environments and relationships reflect and influence their real-world ones, as presented January 19 at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual meeting in New Orleans.
"Researchers have known for a while that individuals give unique cues about who they are with the things they own, clothes they wear, things they say and do. However, though these cues are informative to knowing who someone truly is, they were not always so easily accessible to our entire social network," says Lindsay Graham of the University of Texas, Austin, one of the presenters. "Now with much of our lives being lived online, and the boundaries having been blurred between who sees these cues and who doesn’t, it is all the more important to pay attention to the kinds of impressions we are giving off to those around us."
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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education