Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Adolescents’ Exposure to Online Risks: Gender Disparities and Vulnerabilities Related to Online Behaviors

Version 1 : Received: 16 March 2021 / Approved: 19 March 2021 / Online: 19 March 2021 (11:15:59 CET)

How to cite: Savoia, E.; Harriman, N.W.; Su, M.; Cote, T.; Shortland, N. Adolescents’ Exposure to Online Risks: Gender Disparities and Vulnerabilities Related to Online Behaviors. Preprints 2021, 2021030498 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0498.v1). Savoia, E.; Harriman, N.W.; Su, M.; Cote, T.; Shortland, N. Adolescents’ Exposure to Online Risks: Gender Disparities and Vulnerabilities Related to Online Behaviors. Preprints 2021, 2021030498 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0498.v1).

Abstract

In the last decade, readily available electronic devices have created unprecedented opportunities for teens to access a wide variety of information and media – both positive and negative – on the internet. Despite the increasing number of initiatives taking place worldwide intended to assess and mitigate the online risks encountered by children and adolescents, there is still a need for a better understanding of how adolescents use the internet and what consequences they may face. We conducted a cross sectional online survey of a convenience sample of 733 8th and 9th grade students in Utah. The survey contained eight questions regarding students’ exposure to three types of online risk scenarios: content risk, contact risk, and commercial risk. Independent variables included students’ online behaviors, use of social media and private messaging apps, and adult supervision of online activities. Logistic and negative binomial regression models indicated that female gender, social media use, and chatting with strangers were associated with exposure to multiple unsafe online scenarios. Our results provide critical information to practitioners involved in the development of educational initiatives by building a profile of potentially risky online behaviors and allow them to tailor their initiatives to meet the needs of more vulnerable populations.

Subject Areas

Online Safety; Online Risk; Online Behaviors; Gender Disparities; High School Students; Social Media

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