Explaining vulnerability to risk and harm

Alfredas Laurinavičius, Rita Žukauskienė and Laura Ustinavičiūtė

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:
Explaining vulnerability to risk and harm

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This chapter investigates the socio-demographic and psychological factors associated with two types of online risk (bullying and sexual images) and harm, resulting from encountering these online risks. Age, gender, time spent online, sensation-seeking, self-efficacy, psychological difficulties and presence of offline risk were selected as predictors of risk and harm. The results show that all selected variables predict risks of both type, but the strongest predictor of both risks is experience of the same risks offline. Intensity of harm from an encounter with both online risks is associated with gender, the presence of psychological difficulties and an experience of the same type of risk offline. Presence of offline risk decreases intensity of harm. The results show that there is a strong connection between online and offline risks: as the internet comes into more frequent use, online and offline risks tend to coincide. The results support arguments for treating children's online reality not as separate from, but rather as part of, their usual reality.

Keywords: Online risk; Online harm; Vulnerability; Socio-demographic factors; Psychological factors

Chapter.  3942 words. 

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