Mauricio Herrera López

University of Nariño (Colombia)

Cyber Behaviour and Cyberbullying in Latin America: Progress, Achievements and Prospects

Participants: Juan Calmaestra Villén1; Mauricio Herrera López2; Cristina Hennig Manzuoli3 a d Jesús Redondo Pacheco4 

1University of Cordoba; 2University of Nariño (Colombia); 3University of La Sabana (Colombia); 4Pontifical Bolivarian University (Colombia) 

Symposium Summary

Introduction: ICTs have changed the way interpersonal relationships are established; traditional face-to-face interaction has been extended to a virtual one that offers new research areas. While there are benefits for communication, it also represents various risks for children, adolescents and young adults, such as cyberbullying. This form of indirect, intentional bullying carried out through electronic devices, which is systematic and creates an imbalance of power (aggressor-victim), is currently a serious risk factor for the mental health of those involved and for public health on a global scale. It is, therefore, a priority for psychology and education to contribute to prevention and intervention in the search for adequate environments for convivencia and cyberconvivencia. The symposium aim is to present significant experiences, which reflect the effort that Latin America is making to study, understand and take action in cyberbullying; even more so when Latin America is still lagging in terms of scientific, empirical and interventional progress at a global level. Methods: quality measurements and analyses are recognized, with emphasis on exploratory/confirmatory factorial analyses -EFA-CFA, structural equation models-SEM, quasi-experimental designs (pre/post-test), and large cross-cultural samples of children, adolescents and young adults. Results: The instrument of cyberbullying bystanders in Colombia/Spain presented optimal psychometric properties. The SEM model from Ecuador/Spain suggested that self-deprecation and social skills explain cybervictimization, and empathy and assertiveness explain cyberaggression. In the intervention programme the ANCOVAs-posttest showed statistically significant differences in cybervictimization and cyberaggression. Discussion: The importance of some psychosocial predictors of cyberbullying that should be included in its prevention is recognized; a new measurement instrument of bystanders was validated; unique narratives and meanings about the phenomenon emerge in children and the effectiveness of an intervention that increased prosociality and decreased cybervictimization is confirmed. Latin America provides scientific evidence on cyberbullying from psychology applied to education.

Short CV

Psychologist graduated from the University of Nariño (Colombia); currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the same university. Researcher of the Group Psychology and Health, category B by COLCIENCIAS-Colombia; researcher of the Study Laboratory on Convivence and Prevention of Violence (LAECOVI, HUM-298 PAIDI) directed by the Prof. Rosario Ortega-Ruiz. He is a specialist in Education and Pedagogy (Mariana University, Colombia), Master in Education (University of Nariño, Colombia) and PhD in Social and Legal Sciences from the University of Cordoba (Spain) with an excellent cum laude and awarded with the Extraordinary Doctoral Thesis Prize in the macro-area of Social and Legal Sciences. He has participated in several Latin American and European R+D+i research projects. His lines of research are school and youth violence (bullying and cyberbullying); interpersonal relationships, social competence, and psychometric issues such as validation/adaptation of measurement instruments. This research work has produced impact publications in journals indexed in the Web of Science (JCR) and in SCOPUS (SJR) such as Computers in Human Behavior, British Medical Journal Open (BMJ-Open), Frontiers in Psychology and Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, among others. He has presented conferences and papers at international congresses, among which the following stand out The 6º CONGRESO MUNDIAL SOBRE VIOLENCIA EN LAS ESCUELAS Y POLÍTICAS PÚBLICAS (Peru); 7th WORLD CONFERENCE ON VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC POLICIES (Canada); EARA 2016-EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH ON ADOLESCENCE. XV Biennial Conference (Spain); CONGRESO IBEROAMERICANO DE EDUCACION METAS-2021 (Argentina). Some of the awards received are Award to the best paper from Vol. 49 Number 3 of Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología (Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz- 2017), "Policarpa" Award: Radar of inspiring ideas, good institutional practices and educational innovations, University of Nariño (2018) and Extraordinary Award for Doctorate 2016-2017, University of Cordoba-Spain (2018). He has taught in 4 masters in Colombia (Master in Education; Master in Psychological Processes in Education, Master in Promotion and Prevention of Mental Health and Master in Didactics of the Spanish Language); he has been a guest professor at the University of  Cordoba (Spain) to give seminars in 2 programmes (Official Master's Degree in Psychology Applied to Education and Social Welfare and the Uniteruniveristy Masters in Cultures of Peace, Conflict, Education and Human Rights), all in lines of research related to their fields of scientific production; he has also taught in the Doctorate in Education Sciences-RUDECOLOMBIA, giving seminars on quantitative research. He was Director of the Department of Psychology (2009-2012) and Dean (e) of the Faculty of Human Sciences (University of Nariño-Colombia).


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