When parents are inconsistent: Parenting style and adolescents' involvement in cyberbullying.

Affiliation

Department of Education Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. P.O.B 538, Beer-Sheva 8499000, Israel. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND : The prevalence of cyberbullying among adolescents is globally on the rise. This study examined how general and cyber-specific parenting styles impact the prevalence of young adolescents' involvement in cyberbullying as victims and/or perpetrators.
METHODS : One hundred and eighty 7th and 8th-grade Israeli students participated (Mean age = 13.25, SD = 0.81; 86 males, 89 females, 5 did not indicate gender). Adolescents reported the frequency of their involvement in cyberbullying, and whether their parents were using "autonomy-supportive" or "psychologically controlling" strategies generally and specifically when mediating internet use.
RESULTS : A controlling parenting-style as well as an inconsistent internet-mediation style were associated with a higher prevalence of adolescent involvement in cyberbullying as victims and as perpetrators. Prevalence was higher when parents who generally use a controlling style were less controlling or consistent when mediating internet use.
CONCLUSIONS : Despite the caveats related to parental control, parents who generally use a controlling style should consistently use this style while mediating cyber. Inconsistent parenting style conveys messages concerning internet activities that contradict what teens are accustomed to receiving in other contexts. This inconsistency may encourage them to exploit their relative freedom in the cyber context and act irresponsibly.

Keywords

Cyber-victimization,Cyberbullying,Parental mediation of media,Parenting-style,Self-determination theory,