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Patterns of behaviour, emotional states and educational experience of high school students

Priority areas of development: sociology
2018
Department: Centre for Contemporary Childhood Research

Goal of research: development of a methodology for studying patterns of everyday behavior of adolescents and their emotional states, as well as the prevalence of bullying and factors affecting it.

Methodology

Questionnaires, the use of geolocation data and open data of the social network Vkontakte

Empirical base of research

To study the patterns of everyday behavior, we used a survey of adolescents (150 people), open data from a social network, and geolocation data.

To study the prevalence of different types of bullying and its role structure we used a online survey of adolescents (891 people from 5 regions of Russia.

Results of research

The potential of automatically collected data (digital traces) in research in the field of modern childhood is shown. We describe traditional approaches to the study of the psychological well-being of adolescents and patterns of everyday behavior, as well as studies that are based on digital traces.

The results of a pilot study using digital traces (open data from the Vkontakte social network and geolocation data) and survey data to analyze patterns of everyday behavior and emotional states of adolescents are described. Procedures are described for quality control of geolocation data, as well as characteristics of daily mobility. In addition, the structure of the social network of adolescents and the relationship between emotional states and behavior in a social network are described.

In addition, the results of the study of the attitudes of parents in relation to children implemented under this project are described. Gender inequality begins at the early stages of life. Parents, as a rule, prefer sons to daughters, and this gender bias manifests itself in reproductive behavior, family life, pastime of parents with children and investments in their children. While social networks and the sharing of information about children in social networks (the so-called sharenting) have become an integral part of parenthood, it is not yet fully understood how gender bias is manifested in the online behavior of users. On the basis of a large amount of data from open profiles of the Vkontakte social network (more than 600 thousand users), the gender bias phenomenon was studied in the way parents write about their children on Vkontakte social network. The results of the study showed that both men and women mention their sons more often than daughters in their posts in the social network. We also found that messages mentioning sons receive, on average, more “likes”. Our results show that girls are underrepresented in digital narratives of parents about their children, even though Russia occupies a relatively high position in the ranking of countries in terms of gender equality. This gender imbalance may lead to the formation that girls are less important than boys or that they deserve less attention. Thereby, gender imbalance can exacerbate gender inequality from an early age.

The fact of wide prevalence of bullying in Russian schools is presented in the current research. According to our results, all of the roles (victim, perpetrator, bystander) are highly intercorrelated which gives us an idea of bully-victim and vice versa transition. At the same time witnesses of bullying are the most numerous category. Social aggression and verbal bullying are the most well represented types of bullying, usually adolescents resort to demonstration of indecent gestures, rude comments on each other, and social exception. Cyberbullying is less widespread than the traditional forms of bullying. 

Bullying involvement has several gender differences - boys are more often victims and perpetrators of physical bullying, girls are more often witnesses of practically all types of bullying. Adolescents from families with low income and father’s of both parents’ unemployment are typically more victimised than their more socioeconomically advantaged peers.

Bullying involvement is significantly associated to school climate (relational and safety dimensions); higher scoring on victimisation and witnessing are associated with lower lower perception of school safety. It is notable that not only victims of bullying, but also perpetrators and bystanders report on a less comfortable school climate and lack of emotional contact with teachers. Bullying victimisation is linked to lower scoring on main school disciplines (Russian language and Maths).

Publications:


Smirnov I. Predicting PISA Scores from Students’ Digital Traces, in: PROCEEDINGS OF THE TWELFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA.: American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Press, 2018. С. 360-364. 
Sivak E., Smirnov I. Parents mention sons more often than daughters on social media // Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2019. Vol. 116. No. 6. P. 2039-2041. doi
Образование за стенами школы. Москва : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2020.