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When adolescents receive sexual messages on the internet: explaining experiences of risk and harm

Livingstone, Sonia ORCID: 0000-0002-3248-9862 and Görzig, Anke (2014) When adolescents receive sexual messages on the internet: explaining experiences of risk and harm. Computers in Human Behavior, 33. pp. 8-15. ISSN 0747-5632

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.chb.2013.12.021


This article reports new findings on the incidence of risk and the associated experience of harm reported by children and adolescents aged 11–16, regarding receipt of sexual messages on the internet (known popularly as sexting). Findings showed that the main predictors of the risk of seeing or receiving sexual messages online are age (older), psychological difficulties (higher), sensation seeking (higher) and risky online and offline behavior (higher). By contrast, the main predictors of harm resulting from receiving such messages were age (younger), gender (girls), psychological difficulties (higher) and sensation seeking (lower), with no effect for risky online or offline behavior. The findings suggest that accounts of internet-related risks should distinguish between predictors of risk and harm. Since some exposure to risk is necessary to build resilience, rather than aiming to reduce risk through policy and practical interventions, the findings can be used to more precisely target those who experience harm in order to reduce harm overall from internet use.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2014 17:11
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 01:45
Projects: EU Kids Online; European Commission (DG Information Society) Safer Internet Programme (project code SIP-KEP-321803)
Funders: European Commission (DG Information Society)

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