Youth internet victimization in a broader victimization context

  • Mitchell K
  • Finkelhor D
  • Wolak J
 et al. 
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Purpose To examine past-year and lifetime rates of online victimization and associations with offline victimizations, trauma symptomatology, and delinquency among adolescents. Methods Data were collected through telephone interviews from a nationally representative sample of 2,051 adolescents (ages, 10-17) as part of the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence. Data were collected between January and May, 2008. Results Six percent of youth reported a past-year online victimization and 9% a lifetime online victimization. Almost all youth reporting a past-year online victimization (96%) reported offline victimization during the same period. The offline victimizations most strongly associated to online victimization were sexual victimizations (e.g., sexual harassment, being flashed, rape) and psychological and emotional abuse. Online victims also reported elevated rates of trauma symptomatology, delinquency, and life adversity. Conclusions Prevention and intervention should target a broader range of behaviors and experiences rather than focusing on the Internet component exclusively. Internet safety educators need to appreciate that many online victims may be at risk not because they are naive about the Internet, but because they face complicated problems resulting from more pervasive experiences of victimization and adversity. © 2011 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Delinquency
  • Internet
  • Life adversity
  • Trauma
  • Victimization

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