Publication details

The Roles of Individual Characteristics and Liberalism in Intentional and Unintentional Exposure to Online Sexual Material Among European Youth: A Multilevel Approach

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Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Sexuality Research and Social Policy
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Field Psychology
Keywords Exposure to online sexual material; EU KIds Online II; adolescence; liberalism; internet
Description The aim of this study was to examine how young people are intentionally or unintentionally exposed to sexual material on the internet. A sample from the EU Kids Online II project, including youth (N = 11,712, 11–16 years, 50 % girls) from 25 countries, was used to examine predictors of unintentional exposure to online sexual material (EOSM) via pop-up images and intentional EOSM on adult/X-rated websites. Using a multilevel analysis, we considered several individual-level predictors (psychosocial characteristics, patters of internet use, and parental mediation), one country-level predictor (mean cultural liberalism of the country), and cross-level interactions. Except for gender, the study did not identify any specific patterns of individual-level predictors for unintentional and intentional EOSM: age, sensation seeking, sexual intercourse, amount of time spent online, level of digital skills, and degree of restrictive mediation predicted both types of EOSM. Intentional EOSM was more often reported by boys, while unintentional EOSM occurred to a similar degree among boys and girls. Finally, living in a country with a stronger culture of liberalism predicted a greater likelihood of intentional but not unintentional EOSM and also was associated with smaller gender differences in intentional EOSM.
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