By Guest Author AJ Schock, adrianne.schock found on wsu.edu
I am certain that everyone has posted something online that they regret. Statistics have shown that 11-46% of adolescents have reported experiencing online regret after sharing content on the Internet.
In the article about online regret, Dhir et al. focused on two main research topics. First, they examined the relationship between Social Networking Sites’ (SNS) brand participation, technology accessibility, and the regret experience and problematic use of Facebook. The second involved the relative influence of SNS’ brand participation, technology accessibility, and the problematic use of Facebook in predicting regrettable online experiences.
In four different cities in Northern India, 804 adolescent (aged 13 to 14 years old) Facebook users were given a pencil-and-paper survey in class on four separate concepts:
- Online regret: Did the student feel sad after spending an immense amount of time on Facebook? Was their schoolwork affected by their time spent on Facebook? The students’ answers were measured on a 5-point scale with ‘1’ being strongly disagree and ‘5’ being strongly agree
- SNS brand participation: Did the student feel that by participating in discussions on Facebook, brand pages gave them a sense of belonging to said brands? The students’ answers were measured on a 5-point scale with ‘1’ being strongly disagree and ‘5’ being strongly agree.
- Technology accessibility: Students reported how they accessed Facebook by answering whether or not they owned a cell phone, had a mobile Internet connection and an Internet connection at home. This measure also dealt with the frequency and excessive use of Facebook.
- Problematic Facebook use: Students reported their self-reflections of their own problematic Facebook use, their teachers, parents, and friends’ thoughts about the student’s problematic Facebook use, and conflicts with their parents and friends due to their problematic Facebook use. The students’ answers were measured as unproblematic, low problem level, medium problem level, and high problem level.
Dhir and colleagues found that students with and without home and mobile Internet had the same amount of regrettable online experiences while students with cell phones experienced higher online regret than those without. They determined adolescent brand participation results in online regret. The authors suggested that a possible reason for this is that adolescents are currently captivated with popular brands. An internal need exists for adolescents to connect with these brands by following the brands on Facebook or participating in a discussion on these pages.
Why would research on brands and regrettable online experiences be important? Branded pages on Facebook face two major problems: retaining existing members and initiating the active participation of community members. Regrettable online experiences lead to brand switching and the termination of services. Managers and administrators of these branded pages should explore different ideas to provide their community members with ways to actively participate without experiencing online regret. Active participation would lead to better ways to retrieve feedback and opinions from users while minimizing the regrettable experience.
Dhir, A., Kaur, P., Chen, S., & Lonka, K. (2016). Understanding online regret experience in Facebook use – Effects of brand participation, accessibility & problematic use. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 420-430. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.040