Publication details

Meeting new online contacts - changes in European children's patterns of sociality

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Year of publication 2013
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference IADIS E-Society 2013 conference Lisbon
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Psychology
Keywords children internet strangers risks
Description This article discusses children’s offline meetings with new contacts established online by taking country-level predictors (i.e. importance of family, importance of friendship and interpersonal trust). The data was drawn from two projects: EU Kids Online II and European Values Survey 2008. The sample of the study included 25,142 children and adolescents aged between 9 and 16 from 25 European countries. The prevalence of meeting online contacts offline differs significantly across countries. Two-level hierarchical logistic regression was conducted to predict odds of meeting with online contacts based on family type and country-level predictors as importance of family, importance of friends and interpersonal trust (operationalised as trust in most people). The results indicated that meeting online contacts offline increased with children’s age. Children living in typical families were less likely to engage in online meetings. The importance of family and friends significantly lowered the probability of meeting online contacts offline. Contrary, interpersonal trust increased the probability of such a meeting. The findings suggest that already existing social bonds might shape the social integration of youth via online contacts, but new media has facilitated the replacement of close-knit ties with more loose, extended peer-based networks. The results were discussed in scope of contributions, limitations and further suggestions.
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