Coping and resilience: children's responses to online risks

Sofie Vandoninck, Leen d'Haenens and Katia Segers

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:
Coping and resilience: children's responses to online risks

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When exposure to online risks results in a negative experience, children respond in different ways to this feeling of being upset. This chapter investigates which children are more vulnerable, as they feel upset more intensively. While online bullying provokes most harm, children seem less bothered seeing sexual images (content risk). Younger children and those with little self-efficacy or psychological problems feel more intensively upset, and girls are more sensitive to sexual risks. This chapter also looks into children's coping responses when they feel upset after exposure to online risks. The chapter distinguishes between fatalistic, communicative and proactive coping strategies. It concludes that children identified as more vulnerable are more likely to adopt a passive or fatalistic approach, while self-confident children seem to tackle the problem more proactively. Girls and younger children are more communicative. Children higher on the ladder of online opportunities will adopt more online proactive coping strategies such as deleting disturbing messages or blocking the sender. These results are an indication for a double jeopardy effect: children who experience difficulties offline seem to find it more difficult to cope with online risks.

Keywords: Coping strategies; Online resilience; Online risks; Fatalistic coping approach; Communicative coping strategies; Proactive coping strategies

Chapter.  4846 words. 

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