Publication details

Stranger Is Not Always Danger: The Myth and Reality of Meetings with Online Strangers

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Year of publication 2015
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description This chapter deals with the topic of face-to-face meetings with people known only from the Internet. First, the popularized picture of online strangers as online pedophiles searching for children online is presented and contradicted to empirical evidence from actual Internet-initiated sexual crimes with minors. Next, the chapter focuses on findings from the general population of young Internet users and shows the typical meetings with online strangers as an activity which mostly happens among adolescent peers and only in a minority of the cases results in negative outcomes. Lastly, the focus shifts to a description and discussion of the nature of such negative experiences based on both quantitative and qualitative data. The consequences of the inaccurate media portrayal of online strangers are also discussed, as well as future directions for research in this area.
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