Adolescent gender differences in internet safety education

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The vast literature about adolescents’ online uses mentions a variety of gender differences regarding online habits, activities, and risks. But often these differences are not consistent, and result in contradicting trends in reported gender differences. This study adopts an information flux approach for distinguishing between perceptions of gender differences in uses and risks for adolescents online, and in emphasis of educational messages delivered by parents and teachers to adolescents. Based on a survey of adolescents, followed by interviews with Israeli adolescents, parents and teachers, the results indicate that indeed, boys are perceived as more vulnerable to risks resulting from exposure to (harmful) information, a perception consistent with a general perception of active masculinity attributing agency for boys, who actively and purposefully search and consume information from the network. Girls are perceived as vulnerable to risks resulting from exposure of (personal) information, a perception consistent with an image of femininity as giving, providing information to the network, and consequently being passively exposed to risk of predators. Consequently, educational messages and restrictions on boys and girls emphasize these differences and result in some aspects of risks, which research demonstrates both gefnders are vulnerable to, being neglected in parental mediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1041
Number of pages18
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Internet safety
  • adolescents
  • education
  • gender
  • information flux
  • internet risks
  • mixed methods
  • privacy

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