Abstract

This study examines the topic of online harassment and cyberbullying in adult populations by generational age. A total of 236 responses were collected via social network sampling on the sites Facebook and LinkedIn utilizing an adaptive online victimization survey. Data were analyzed using a binary generational age metavariable with respondents classified either as digital natives (18-29) or digital immigrants(30+)to compare reputed theoretical divisions based on early life experiences with modern online telecommunications. In accordance with emergent cybernetic theories, conceptions of online identity, sociomateriality, and telecommunication usage were examined through perceived victimization incidents as well as related online behaviors to understand age-based victimization factors and the creation of psychological distress. Although statistical testing revealed that there was little generational division in most measured concepts, reported stress levels and social networking site use frequency were demonstrated to be significantly associated. Digital immigrants were more likely to report high stress levels in perceived victimizations than digital natives, although their usage of social networking sites was comparatively less frequent. Personal online user representations, peer user vigilance, and the reactivity of responses to hypothetical victimizations give context and corroborate these findings. Generational age as a whole was determined only to have minor connection to adult victimization within the research framework.

Keywords: Anonymity, Cyberbullying, Demographics, Identity, Online Harassment, Perception, Social Networking Sites, Stress, Survey, Victimization

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