Summary: The rise of the internet and social media has ushered in a new form of dating violence termed cyber-violence. This form of abuse encompasses acts of control, humiliation, and threats in the online realm.
A recent study reveals that beliefs like romantic love myths, jealousy, and particularly sexism, play pivotal roles in propagating cyber-violence. Unpacking these beliefs is vital for promoting healthier online relationships.
Cyber-violence, a digital form of dating abuse, includes acts like unauthorized photo sharing and cyberstalking.
Many young individuals often misconstrue control and aggression in relationships as markers of genuine love.
Romantic myths, jealousy, and notably sexism, have been identified as significant contributors to cyber-violence.
Source: Neuroscience News
With the pervasive rise of the internet and social media platforms, romantic relationships are increasingly finding their way into the digital realm. While this offers numerous benefits, it also presents a darker side: a surge in a specific form of dating violence termed cyber-violence.
Cyber-violence encompasses acts of control, humiliation, intimidation, and threats directed at a partner or ex-partner in the online realm. But what fuels this form of abuse?
A recent study aimed to unravel the ties between beliefs such as romantic love myths, jealousy, and sexism and the occurrence of cyber-violence.
Dating violence, traditionally understood as any form of aggression (physical, psychological, or sexual) towards a partner or ex-partner, has long been recognized as a concerning public health issue. Its repercussions, especially on younger individuals, range from severe psychological trauma to physical harm.
What’s alarming is that this form of violence has evolved with the popularization of the internet. Acts like unauthorized sharing of intimate photos, cyberstalking, and online harassment fall under the broad umbrella of cyber-violence. These behaviors have grave implications for the mental and emotional well-being of the youth, and recognizing them is pivotal.
One might question why the youth, especially, are vulnerable. An alarming reality is that many young individuals often misconstrue acts of control and aggression as markers of genuine romantic love. For them, conflict, albeit toxic, may feel like an integral facet of a romantic relationship. Add to this the inherent jealousy that often surfaces in relationships, especially when perceived threats, real or imagined, emerge.
In the digital age, these threats might manifest as an innocuous comment on a partner’s post or a photo liked by an unknown individual.
But where do these beliefs stem from? Cultural constructs and societal norms play an intricate role.
Romantic myths, for instance, perpetuate the idea that real love is possessive and exclusive. These beliefs suggest that an ideal romantic relationship is intense, all-consuming, and sometimes irrational. While these notions might sound passionate and profound, they foster an environment conducive to abuse.
The study found, however, that while romantic myths had a minimal protective role against victimization, jealousy and sexist beliefs played a more direct role in propagating cyber-violence.
Sexism, another significant player in this paradigm, refers to beliefs restricting and limiting gender expression, frequently leading to discrimination against women. Sexist beliefs perpetuate power dynamics and gender stereotypes in relationships, often leading to acts of violence.
In the realm of cyber-violence, these attitudes may express themselves as misogynistic trolling or online harassment directed primarily at women. For instance, men and even some women who hold more traditional, sexist views may be more likely to accept, or even perpetrate, acts of online aggression.
While ground-breaking in its exploration of the intertwined roles of jealousy, sexism, and romantic myths in cyber-violence, the study isn’t without its limitations. Relying primarily on self-reported data poses the risk of social desirability bias. The overrepresentation of women in the study could also skew the findings.
In conclusion, understanding the drivers of cyber-violence is essential in this digital age. By dissecting the roles of jealousy, romantic myths, and sexism, we can better equip the youth with the tools to foster healthier relationships, both offline and online.
About this psychology and interpersonal relationship violence research news
Jealousy, sexism, and romantic love myths: the role of beliefs in online dating violence
With the massification of the Internet and social networks, a new form of dating violence called cyber-violence has emerged, which involves behaviors of control, humiliation, intimidation and threats towards the partner or ex-partner.
Using a non-probabilistic sample of 1,001 participants aged 18 to 25 years, the present study used an ex post facto, retrospective, cross-sectional, single-group design to analyze the joint effects that beliefs associated with dating violence such as romantic love myths, jealousy, and sexism have on the victimization and perpetration of cyber-violence.
The results evidenced that jealousy is involved in both Cyber-victimization and Cyber-harassment perpetrated, while sexist beliefs are only involved in perpetration.
In the discussion section, it is postulated that cyber-violence is a phenomenon that is more related to the probability of aggression, but not to the probability of being a victim.
Finally, limitations and implications for future research are discussed.