Skip to main content
Who's Online? Predicting Boys' and Girls' Computer Use
Tennessee Psychological Association (2010)
  • Alexandra Loan, University of Memphis
  • Tara K. Cossel, University of Memphis
  • Rachel Tillery, University of Memphis
  • Corrie L. Schoffstall, University of Memphis
  • Robert Cohen, University of Memphis

Children’s social use of computer technologies is dramatically increasing with much of the research centered on negative consequences such as cyber aggression and victimization. However, little is known about the frequency of technology use as it relates to actual, classroom peer and intrapersonal factors. The present research investigates the relation of frequency of technology use (email, Facebook, and text messaging) to self measures of social competence, loneliness, and peer optimism and to peer nominations for classroom aggression and for victimization.

Third through sixth graders (n = 198; girls = 101) completed questionnaires in group sessions. Although there were no statistically significant gender differences in frequency of technology use, boys and girls showed overlapping but distinct patterns of relations between use and peer social competence. For both genders, technology use was significantly and positively related to classroom aggression. For each of the self measures (i.e., social competence, loneliness, peer optimism) technology use was significantly related only for boys (negative for loneliness, positive for the other two). Interestingly, technology use was not significantly related to peer nominations for classroom victimization. Results suggest that the more aggressive boys and girls were in traditional ways, the more they used computer technologies, perhaps as an anonymous way of continuing these activities. The more positively that boys (but not girls) evaluated themselves as social beings, the more they used computer technologies. For both genders, the frequency of use of computers was not related to whether a child was viewed by classroom peers as a victim.

  • computer,
  • technology,
  • gender,
  • social competence,
  • loneliness,
  • peer,
  • optimism,
  • overt aggression,
  • relational aggression,
  • aggression
Publication Date
Fall October, 2010
Citation Information
Alexandra Loan, Tara K. Cossel, Rachel Tillery, Corrie L. Schoffstall, et al.. "Who's Online? Predicting Boys' and Girls' Computer Use" Tennessee Psychological Association (2010)
Available at: