Little attention has been given academically to empirically tested theoretical frameworks that aim at measuring the risk of adolescents falling victim to cybergrooming. To this end, we have applied the routine activity theory (RAT) to investigate whether exposure to motivated offenders (PC/laptop ownership and Internet access in one's own bedroom), capable guardianship (parental mediation strategies of Internet use), and target suitability (adolescents' online disclosure of private information) might predict cybergrooming victimization among adolescents. Using data from a cross-sectional survey of 5,938 adolescents from Germany, India, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United States, ranging in age from 12 to 18 (M = 14.77, SD = 1.60), we found that PC/laptop ownership and Internet access in one's own bedroom, parental mediation, and online disclosure are all directly associated with cybergrooming victimization. Although instructive parental mediation is negatively related to online disclosure and cybergrooming victimization, restrictive mediation is positively related to both. In addition, online disclosure partially mediated the relationship between parental mediation and cybergrooming victimization. The analyses confirm the effectiveness of applying RAT to cybergrooming. Moreover, this study highlights the need for prevention programs, including lessons on age-appropriate information and communication technology usage and access, to educate parents on using instructive strategies of Internet mediation, and inform adolescents about how to avoid disclosing too much private information online. RAT could function as a theoretical framework for these programs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Computer Science Applications