This study explores the relationships between application usage, online communication patterns, problematic Internet use (PIU) of online applications, and online self-disclosure among children from culturally different groups. An online survey was administered in Hebrew and Arabic among 3867 Israeli 7-17 year old, including Jews, Arabs, and Bedouins. The level of PIU was relatively low-only 9.5% scored "very high" in the PIU index. For all the groups the highest level of communication was reported for safe interactions with family and friends, lower level for purely virtual communication with online acquaintances, and the lowest level for meeting online acquaintances face-to-face. However, various forms of the online communication patterns and use of applications differed across the groups, suggesting cultural diversity in Internet usage among children in the same country. PIU and self-disclosure explained 47.3% of variance in risky e-communication activities (e.g. sending ones' photos to online acquaintances, providing them with a school or home address, and meeting them face-to-face), as well as 34.4% of variance in exposure to unpleasant online experiences (e.g. receiving messages, pictures, or videos that make the children feel uncomfortable). However, both PIU and self-disclosure were unrelated to educational activities and to the use of educational applications.
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© 2014 Taylor & Francis.