Young Online Heroes? Differences Between Girls’ And Boys’ Bystander Strategies In Dealing With Observed Digital Violence
University of Vienna, Austria
In today’s mediatized world, young people are not only victims and offenders of online attacks, but also uninvolved observers of digital violence. These so-called online bystanders have the potential to influence conflicts by contributing to further escalation or by acting in morally courageous ways. However, adolescents are reluctant to perform acts of online civil courage. Existing studies indicate that male adolescents intervene less often than female. Research has shown that male and female juveniles differ in their perceptions of digital violence, their strategies in dealing with it, and their intervention behavior. However, detailed studies on gender-sensitive perspectives are still rare.
This contribution investigates the contextual factors and the intervention behavior of female and male juvenile online bystanders. We show how girls and boys differ in (1) their perception of online bystanders, (2) their characterization of online victims and online perpetrators, (3) their intervention and coping strategies and (4) their self-perceptions as online-bystanders. Findings are based on 19 group discussions with 142 adolescents aged 14 to 19 years in Vienna, Austria.
Results indicate differences in girls’ and boys’ perceptions of online environments and in their victim or offender related actions. We show that common associations like ‘braveness’ and ‘heroism’ are not transferable to the internet, which partly explains young people’s reluctance to perform morally courageous actions as online bystanders. Overall, these finding shed light on what prevents female and male adolescents from standing up for others online, and provide knowledge for a successful mobilization of youth for more online civil courage.
“Your Mother Has Been on the Street for Too Long… That's Why You Were Born”: Gender Stereotypes and Gendered Slurs in Cyberbullying Role Playing
Bruno Kessler Foundation, Italy
Cyberbullying is a deliberate and repeated aggressive act intentionally performed against adolescents using digital technologies. This study flanked CREEP, a project promoted by EIT Digital to design technologies aimed at cyberbullying contrast. We adopted a qualitative research design and a participatory approach to identify the recurring themes and stereotypes repertoires adopted by teenagers to harass their peers. The study was conducted in Northern Italy among lower secondary schools (12-13 years old) as a privileged field of analysis and involved 8 classes (148 students). We organized role play experiments using instant messaging system (Whatsapp) to study cyberbullying interactions among teenagers and focus groups to analyze the realism of the chats. Researchers created instant messaging systems groups supervised by researchers and teachers and assigned to each student a role: bully, support to bully, victim, support to victim. Participants were required to perform their role moving from ad hoc scenarios to trigger the conversation. We performed a thematic analysis of the interactions, highlighting the communicative styles (i.e. stereotypes, insults) adopted by the participants. A recurring theme were gender-based offences, and in general the discursive construction of gendered cyberbullying interactions. The analysis led to identify the presence of two sets of slurs: the first one is used by both males and females and the second one is used differently by boys and girls and connoted on the basis of gender. According to our findings, gender both influences how cyberbullying is perpetrated and experienced and gender stereotypes offer a repertoire to enact cyberbullying.
Umwelt: Exploring and Experiencing Trans Kids' Lives via Video Gaming
Simon Fraser University, Canada
In “A stroll through the worlds of animals and men: a picture book of invisible worlds,” (1934) Jacob von Uexkull, a German biologist working in the early 20th century, claimed that our knowledge of every kind of living creature, whether ‘animal’ or ‘human,’ needs to be based on an understanding of their umwelten or ‘self-worlds.’ Following von Uexkull, our research team, “Gender Vectors of the Greater Vancouver Area (GVGVA),” has used this concept to map the umwelten of transgender and gender nonconforming children and youth - using video game technology to make visible the vectors of vulnerability, security and resilience that shape their life chances. The video game is a non-traditional means of mobilizing knowledge about and on behalf of a vulnerable population via an interactive format, integrating first person and systems perspectives to make visible the ways in which trans and gender nonconforming kids and teens experience and navigate multiple barriers to care and support. This paper reports on a workshop wherein trans and gender nonconforming youth tested a pilot model of the game and engaged in a community-based and collaborative dialogue with researchers, educators, and policy makers. This workshop promoted a broader understanding of the urgent sites of care and support needed for non-cisgender children and youth in the Greater Vancouver Area of British Columbia, Canada.
Partnerlessness And Anti-Liberal Ideology In The Online Discourse Of Marginalized Male Youth
University of Helsinki, Finland
This work in progress examines the intersection of youth marginalization and loneliness, in particular romantic and sexual partnerlessness, by drawing on online discussions on a Finnish anonymous image board aimed mostly at young men identifying as hikikomori (socially withdrawn NEETs). By utilizing lacanian discourse analysis, I examine how these young men articulate and orient themselves within the structural pressures imposed on them by the modern "mating market" and the late stage of capitalism that Nancy Fraser has labelled "progressive neoliberalism".
The discussions on the board share a consensus that there's more demand for young women than young men on the mating market but they differ on who should be blamed for this. The first camp laments the competitive pressures imposed on them as men and blame women for them. This discourse is interpreted as a hysterical discourse revolving around the figure of the narcissistic Woman who forces men to compete for her attention and is further privileged by the liberal elite. The second camp follows the discourse of the capitalist in accusing the first camp of avoiding personal responsibility for one's success in dating and life in general. This discourse further utilizes psychocultural tropes by interpreting social critique as stemming from bitterness and psychic problems. The topic of sexual inexperience also divides the board into those who find it deeply shameful and embarrassing and those who think little of it and remind others that sex won't cure their personal problems.