Natalia Waechter and several members of IRTIS team at Cyberspace 2021

7 Jan 2022

This year's Cyberspace 2021 conference, co-organized by the IRTIS team, took place in November, but this time in hybrid form. Natalia Waechter, an expert on the impact of technology on young people and several members of our team, spoke at the conference.

The conference took place in Brno, at the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University, and began with a lecture by Professor Natalie Waechter from the University of Graz. In her presentation, she provided a detailed insight into the various social media that young people currently use. Among other things, Natalia is also the leader of the German team in the European Horizon project ySKILLS dealing with the digital skills of young people, on which our team also works closely. After the lecture, a panel discussion with Professor David Šmahel and Adriana Dergam took place.

The cyberspace conference focuses on cyberspace research across various disciplines, such as law, technology, informatics, psychology, new media, etc. On the second day of the conference, several parallel programs took place, focusing more closely on topics related to one of these disciplines. You can find the complete list of the conference program in the call for papers document HERE, or you can download the full conference program HERE. Several IRTIS members presented their work as part of a program on cyberspace psychology. Our members' presentations are listed below, along with the study abstracts for more detailed information on their work.


Although lot of studies examined gender differences in online self-disclosure of adolescents and topics of their online posts, most of them focused on publicly available content (i.e. discussion forums) and provided inconsistent results. This paper examined gender differences in 2,022 authentic online conversations from Messenger provided by 22 adolescents aged from 13 to 17 years. Using quantitative content analysis, the text was coded for topics and frequency of selfdisclosive utterances along with depth and breadth dimensions of self-disclosure by two coders. The results showed that discussion topics differed by gender of participants in the conversation. Boys conversed more about friends, classmates, public issues and playing online and offline games. On the other hand, girls talked more frequently about romantic or sexual partners, family members, and school. In the case of self-disclosure, there was not a difference in frequency of self-disclosive utterances, but these utterances differed by gender within the depth and breadth dimensions; boys shared more information without emotional or evaluative aspects, whereas girls disclosed facts together with their emotions, opinions or wishes more than boys. The results also suggest the importance of the gender of the conversational partner in self-disclosure, because girls were more self-disclosive in the company of other girls whereas boys´ self-disclosure did not change according to gender of the conversation partner.

  • David Lacko, Hana Machačková
    The Influence of Online Advertising on Adolescents’ Perceived Credibility of Information Related to the Fitness/Dietary Supplements


Most adolescents seek health-related information online. However, such information is often written in the form of an advertisement presenting products that could jeopardize their health. Furthermore, modern ads may tend to conceal their real purpose which makes their recognition much harder (i.e., native ads). The perceived credibility of such advertised information by adolescents might have an impact on their buy intentions and usage of potentially noxious products. The aim of the research is, therefore, to examine the influence of advertising on the perceived credibility of online information, especially fitness-related products and dietary supplements. We present a pre-registered experiment on 681 Czech adolescents. Participants were randomly split into three groups. Each group was exposed to a fictional website that contained a banner ad, a native ad, or did not contain any ad. Results suggest that the presence of an ad on a website decreases the perceived credibility of the information. Specifically, native ads decreased it for girls, whereas banner ads decreased it for boys. There was no difference between younger and older adolescents, nor a difference between banner and native ads. Adolescents were generally successful in identifying both kinds of ads and they showed rather low purchase intentions for the advertised products. The potential implications of our findings for adolescents and their parents will be discussed.


Even though the internet is a common source of information and treatment for people with eating disorder (ED) experience (Peebles et al., 2012), the motives for illness-related searches have rarely been investigated beyond the perceived negatives. This study explores how women with ED experience reflect upon the advantages and disadvantages of their ED-related internet use. We expand the framework of the Uses and Gratifications Theory (U&G) into the context of users with ED experience through 30 semi-structured interviews with women with ED experience, aged 16 to 28, who live in the Czech Republic. Thematic analysis revealed four themes related to the pros and cons of their internet usage: ED-related Information Content; Internet Features Important to Users; Body Image; and Social Interaction. The results challenge the binary view of ED-related internet use and question some presumptions of U&G Theory within the specific context of users with ED


Seeking health information online is prevalent among adolescents. Yet, there is limited evidence on the characteristics of youth that are associated with online health information-seeking behaviors. Furthermore, the role of parental factors has been mostly a neglected topic in the field. The current study aimed at evaluating adolescent and parental characteristics together in explaining the online health information-seeking behaviors of adolescents. The adolescent characteristics included the level of e-health literacy and trust in online health information. The frequency of online health information-seeking and e-health literacy mediation reported by parents were the parental variables. Health information websites were separated based on their content and the analyses were conducted separately for the websites that contained information about diseases (Covid-19, other diseases, and medications) and the websites that contained information about promoting health (diets, weight loss, and exercise). Czech adolescents (N= 1530; 50% girls) aged 13-18 and their parents (64% women) participated in the study and completed the respective online questionnaires relating to the study variables. The data were collected in 2020 as a part of the FUTURE project: Modelling the future: Understanding the impact of technology on adolescents’ well-being (GX19-27828X). The proposed models were estimated using Structural Equation Modeling with Robust Maximum Likelihood estimator. The fit indices were within the acceptable range for disease-related (CFI= 0.95; TLI= 0.94; RMSEA= 0.04 ⦏0.040-0.048⦐) and health-promoting websites (CFI= 0.95; TLI= 0.94; RMSEA= 0.04 ⦏0.039-0.048⦐). Consistent with the hypotheses, adolescents' level of e-health literacy and trust in online health information and the frequency of parental online health information-seeking and e-health literacy mediation were positively associated with online health information-seeking behaviors of adolescents. The presentation will introduce the suggested models and summarize the preliminary findings related to the direction and magnitude of the associations between adolescent and parental characteristics.

Many thanks to all the organizers of the Cyberspace conference and its participants, whether they attended online or offline. We are looking forward to the following conference, and we hope that we will all meet in person!

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