- Unwanted online sexual solicitation and risky sexual online behavior across the lifespan
- Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 31 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
There are widespread concerns that on the internet, adolescents are especially vulnerable and take more risks than adults. However, research supporting this concern is still missing. The aim of this study was to explore whether (a) unwanted online sexual solicitation, (b) risky sexual online behavior, and (c) the perception of risks and benefits of risky sexual online behavior vary for males and females in adolescence and adulthood. We conducted an online survey with a representative sample of 1765 Dutch adolescents (grouped as 12-13-, 14-15-, and 16-17-year olds) and 1026 Dutch adults (grouped as 18-29-, 30-50-, and 50-88-year olds). Results indicated that adolescents were more at risk of becoming a victim of unwanted online sexual solicitation than adults. However, they did not engage in more online sexual risks than adults. As expected, females were sexually solicited more often than males but took fewer online sexual risks than males. Across all adolescent and adult age groups, perceived risks of risky sexual online behavior were high while perceived benefits were low. Contrary to earlier theories, adolescents did not perceive fewer risks or more benefits of risky sexual online behavior than adults.
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