Predicting Online Harassment Victimization among a Juvenile Population

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Youth Society




Online harassment can consist of threatening, worrisome, emotionally hurtful, or sexual messages delivered via an electronic medium that can lead victims to feel fear or distress much like real-world harassment and stalking. This activity is especially prevalent among middle and high school populations who frequently use technology as a means to communicate with others. Little is known, however, whether factors linked to computer crime victimization in college samples have the same influence in juvenile populations. The article discusses a study conducted utilizing a routine-activities framework that explored the online harassment experiences among middle and high school students and recruited 434 students in a Kentucky middle and high school to complete a survey uploaded on the district server during school hours. Multiple binary logistic regression models indicate that online harassment victimization increased when juveniles maintain social network sites, associate with peers who harass online, and post sensitive information online. The implications of these findings for theorists, practitioners, and policy makers are also explored.