Conceptual Approaches to Adolescent Online Risk-Taking


Two opposing theories, social compensation and the rich-get richer, have been proposed by the literature to explain online social interactions. Although the theories are geared towards general interpersonal online communication, they will be explored in this study as possible frameworks to explain adolescent online risk-taking. The present study attempted to determine which of these conceptual approaches are most fitting by using multiple regression analysis to examine the predictors of online risk-taking, using data from the Pew Internet Foundation. Results indicate a lack of involvement in extracurricular activities was a predictor for several risk-taking factors, especially for boys. Also a common predictor for risk-taking factors was infrequent time spent socializing with friends in person, especially for girls. These findings strongly support the Social Compensation approach.

Adolescent, Online, Risk-Taking, Social-Compensation, Rich-Get-Richer
Author biographies

Kathryn Stamoulis

Author photoDr. Stamoulis holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Temple University. She resides in New York City and works as a counselor and adjunct faculty at Temple University, specializing in adolescent development and Internet behaviors. She is Secretary of APA’s Division 46 Media Psychology and also serves as an associate editor of their Newsletter, The Amplifier.

Frank Farley

Author photoDr. Farley, a native of Canada, holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, England. He is a leader in American and International psychology, being a former President of the American Psychological Association and six of it’s divisions including the Division of Media Psychology, and former president of the American Educational Research Association. He is an expert in several areas, including child and adolescent development, the Internet, and education.

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