Chapter

Meeting new contacts online

Monica Barbovschi, Valentina Marinescu, Anca Velicu and Eva Laszlo

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847428837.003.0014
Meeting new contacts online

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Social media has significantly altered the ways children and youth connect with each other. While making new friends and expanding one's social circle is encouraged as something positive and desirable, the ‘stranger danger’ – connected with the practice of contacting new people online – continues to generate a great deal of anxiety among parents, teachers and policymakers alike. This chapter offers an account of children's practice of making new contacts online and their further exploration of these new contacts through face-to-face meetings. Among all children, one third have made contact online with someone they didn't know face to face, while less than 10% have gone to a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online. Results suggest that attention should be given to those few children who experience harm from meeting new people, which are the youngest and the most vulnerable, both online and offline.

Keywords: Online contacts; Strangers; Face-to-face meetings; Risk of harm; Vulnerability

Chapter.  4383 words.  Illustrated.

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