Experimenting with the self online: a risky opportunity

Lucyna Kirwil and Yiannis Laouris

in Children, risk and safety on the internet

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9781847428837
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307723 | DOI:
Experimenting with the self online: a risky opportunity

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This chapter presents how online experimentation with the self changes with the child's age and gender and how the prevalence of pretending to be a different kind of person (online identity) and different age online than a child's real identity and age vary between European countries. It explores how children's experimentation with self-identity and age online is related to online activities and experience of online risks and harm. The findings show that experimenting with the self online is less prevalent than expected; however, it remains a risky online opportunity because it is related to undertaking risky online behaviours, encountering online risks and experiencing harm from some online risks. The chapter also reveals that experimenting with the self online, together with the child's age and sensation-seeking, are significant predictors of undertaking risky online activities by children aged 11–16.

Keywords: Experimenting with the self online; Age differences; Gender differences; Country variations; Online risky activities; Online risks; Harm experienced online; Sensation-seeking

Chapter.  4977 words.  Illustrated.

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