This article has been reviewed according to Science X's editorial process and policies. Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content's credibility:

fact-checked

peer-reviewed publication

trusted source

proofread

Young people engaging in anti-social behavior online seek social approval, study finds

Young people engaging in anti-social behavior online seek social approval, study finds
The authors suggest that empathy-building strategies and interventions that aim to make people think about their actions before posting online could help mitigate cyber-aggression. Credit: un-perfekt, Pixabay, CC0 (creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

Young adults engage in online anti-social behavior for fun and social approval, and those who perpetrate this behavior tend to have lower cognitive empathy scores than average, according to a new study published this week in PLOS ONE by Felipe Bonow Soares of University of the Arts London, UK, and colleagues.

Anti-social behavior on social media, such as harassment and bullying, is on the rise. For victims of cyber-aggression, the behavior can lead to several negative outcomes including mental and emotional stress and reduced online participation that leads to further isolation.

In the new work, the researchers surveyed at Toronto Metropolitan University who signed up for a Student Research Participation Pool. 557 students participated in the survey between March 9 and April 18, 2022, providing information about their involvement in cyber-aggression or cyber-victimization as well as including their disinhibition, , empathy, and possible motivations for cyber-aggression. 359 students were included in the final analysis.

Overall, three factors were associated with the perpetration of online anti-social behavior: recreation, reward and cognitive empathy. Reward and recreation were found to be motives for the behavior, suggesting that engage in online anti-social behavior for fun, excitement and social approval. Cognitive empathy was negatively associated with the perpetration of such behavior, suggesting that perpetrators have lower capacity to comprehend the emotions of others, and a lower understanding of how their targets might feel.

The authors conclude that empathy-building strategies and interventions that aim to make people think about their actions before posting online could help mitigate cyber-aggression.

More information: Felipe Bonow Soares et al, To troll or not to troll: Young adults' anti-social behaviour on social media, PLoS ONE (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0284374

Journal information: PLoS ONE

Citation: Young people engaging in anti-social behavior online seek social approval, study finds (2023, May 24) retrieved 25 June 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-young-people-engaging-anti-social-behavior.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Researchers find adolescent cyberbullies also more likely to be victims

31 shares

Feedback to editors