Online victimization, social media utilization, and cyber crime prevention measures

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Asia-Pacific Social Science Review


Engaging concepts germane to lifestyle-routine activities theory (LRAT), this study examines how social media (SM) utilization shapes online victimization experience. It also explores how considerations about online prevention measures play a moderating role between utilization and victimization. This study focuses on the Facebook® utilization of a subset of the U.S. population hitherto understudied in cybercrime prevention studies: Hispanics. An online survey was used to collect information pertaining to respondents’ online victimization experience, social media utilization, and aspects of prevention measures. Logistic and negative binomial regression analyses were performed on two measures of online victimization (ever victimized and frequency of victimization). The findings demonstrate how LRAT can explain the link between SM utilization, prevention measures, and online victimization. The results highlight the role of two temporal aspects of utilization (intensity and extensity) in shaping online victimization experience along with the conditioning role of the salience of mutuality (i.e., the importance of mutuality—to an SM user—in deciding to accept an online friend request). Mutuality was found to be a critical moderating factor between temporal aspects of SM utilization and online victimization. The findings have important implications for online safety, cybercrime prevention, and online victimization awareness initiatives.

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