Young people who access harm-advocating online content: A four country survey

Atte Oksanen*, Matti Näsi, Jaana Minkkinen, Teo Keipi, Markus Kaakinen, Pekka Räsänen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the commonality of exposure to sites that advocate eating disorders, self-injury and suicide among American, British, German and Finnish respondents (N = 3565) aged 15-30 (age M = 23.06, 50.15% male). The analysis focused on both cross-national and socio-demographic differences and on user characteristic including happiness, previous online and offline victimization and online user activity. German respondents had significantly lower levels of exposure to harm-advocating online content than respondents in the three other countries. Females were more likely to be exposed to eating disorder content, while males witnessed more self injury and suicide content across all four countries. Younger respondents were more likely to be exposed to such material. In addition, other socio-demographic background variables (not living with parents, immigrant background, city residence, online activity) and personal characteristics associated with negative self-schemata were significant predictors of exposure to such content. The findings indicate that those facing difficulties in their everyday life are at higher risk of accessing online sites that may foster unhealthy behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages17
JournalCYBERPSYCHOLOGY
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Internet
  • social media
  • eating disorders
  • suicide
  • self-injury
  • youth
  • victimization
  • EATING DISORDER WEBSITES
  • PRO-ANOREXIA WEBSITES
  • SELF-SCHEMAS
  • PEER VICTIMIZATION
  • SUICIDAL IDEATION
  • SOCIAL SUPPORT
  • INTERNET
  • ADOLESCENTS
  • RISK
  • INFORMATION

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