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UK young adults' safety awareness online: is it a 'girl thing'?

Pedersen, Sarah



This article reports on a recent research project undertaken in the UK that investigated young adults' perception of potentially risky behaviour online. The research was undertaken through the use of an online survey associated with the UK teen soap opera Being Victor. The findings of the project suggest that this sample of British young adults was mostly aware of the risks they might encounter online and made thoughtful judgements on what they posted. However, male respondents were less safety aware than female respondents, which may be related to both societal norms for male adolescents and online safety campaigns that have been more targeted at girls. Despite previous researchers finding that girls were more likely to suffer cyberbullying and to be cyberbullies themselves, more male respondents reported both being bullied and bullying behaviour online. Over half of respondents had been subjected to some sort of cyberbullying or online harassment, but 40% admitted to behaving in this manner themselves. However, 'frape' or 'Facebook rape' was considered by respondents as a reciprocal rather than bullying phenomenon. It is suggested that a focus on girls' online safety may have resulted in the message that boys' behaviour online does not need safeguards.


PEDERSEN, S. 2013. UK young adults' safety awareness online: is it a 'girl thing'? Journal of youth studies [online], 16(3), pages 404-419. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 5, 2012
Online Publication Date Aug 7, 2012
Publication Date Jun 30, 2013
Deposit Date Mar 26, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 26, 2015
Journal Journal of youth studies
Print ISSN 1367-6261
Electronic ISSN 1469-9680
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
Pages 404-419
Keywords Gender; Media; Risk; Youth culture
Public URL


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