Tolerance, Empathy, and Aggression as Factors in Compliance with Rules of Online Communication by Russian Adolescents, Young Adults, and Parents
Background. Internet psychology has changed its research focus from describing the Internet as a separate space, with continuous interaction between offline and online communication, to exploring socialization in the world of mixed online/offline reality. This paper deals with the psychological and user activity factors of communication on the Internet in comparison with offline communication.
Objective. To differentiate the role of user activity, difficulties with regulating and expressing aggression, empathy and tolerance in compliance with online communication rules.
Design. The study included 1,029 adolescents aged 14-17, 525 adolescents aged 12-13, 736 young adults aged 17-30, and 1,105 parents of adolescents aged 12-17. Participants assessed how likely they are to follow communication rules online and offline, and reported their user activity level; they filled out the Chen Internet Addiction Scale, Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, Davis Multidimensional Empathy Questionnaire, and Tolerance Index.
Results. It was shown that adolescents in general are a “risk group” for noncompliance with communication rules (“Internet etiquette”), but this is due to their general propensity not to follow any rules. Both in adults and in adolescents, failure to follow online communication rules is related to difficulties with aggression regulation, tolerance, empathy, and a low level of propensity for Internet addiction.
Conclusion. A difference between online and offline communication is related not to difficulties with regulation of aggression (anger and hostility), but to a lack of empathy and tolerance, and signs of Internet addiction.
Keywords: communication rules; online; adolescents; intergenerational comparisons; tolerance, empathy; anger; hostility; propensity to Internet addiction