Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Thesis (UNI Access Only)

Keywords

Internet and teenagers--Psychological aspects; Risk-taking (Psychology) in adolescence;

Abstract

The Internet has become a significant means of communication for many adolescents. Every day, adolescents log on to social networking sites, send emails, and instant message with other individuals online. While many of these individuals are family members, friends, or people that the adolescents have met previously offline, some of these individuals are known only to the adolescents online. Not every unknown individual, or stranger, with whom an adolescent communicates online is dangerous; however, there is a need for adolescents to be cautious with sharing information and choosing to set up offline meetings with these strangers.

A study conducted by Mitchell, Finkelhor, and Wolak (2007) used the 2005 Youth Internet Safety Survey (YISS-2) to answer questions regarding the prevalence, incident characteristics, and youth characteristics associated with aggressive sexual solicitations. The purpose of the current study is to expand upon this previous study and answer questions regarding the demographic characteristics, online risk behaviors, Internet use characteristics, and type of solicitations that are associated with offline meetings with strangers that involve sexual contact. The YISS-2 data was analyzed through Chi Square Tests of Independence and binary logistic regression analyses. The results only found talking about sex online with someone unknown in person as significant for increasing the likelihood an adolescent would attend an offline meeting with a stranger met online that involves sexual contact.

Supplemental analyses using the same data analysis methods were added to analyze the demographics, online risk behaviors, and Internet use characteristics of adolescents who talked with individuals met online through means other than family and friends. The results suggested adolescents’ age, online risk behaviors, and Internet use characteristics are factors that may increase the likelihood of adolescents talking to such individuals online. Additionally, sending personal information online, including an individual on a friend list that is unknown in person, talking about sex online with someone unknown in person, and using the Internet to communicate through emails, instant messaging, and chat rooms were all significant predictors of the likelihood that an adolescent would talk online with an individual met through means other than family and friends.

Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

Specialist in Education

Department

Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Nicole Skaar, Chair

Date Original

2020

Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 80 pages)

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf

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