Risks and consequences of adolescents’ online self-disclosure
Ugnė Paluckaitė, PhD student at Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania)
Kristina Žardeckaitė-Matulaitienė, Assoc. Prof. PhD at Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania)
Nowadays the majority of adolescents spend their time online: studying, communicating with others or entertaining themselves. On the one hand, it is agreed that the usage of the Internet has a positive impact on adolescents’ lives (e.g., helps to maintain personal relations). Still, it also has a negative impact – may cause risky online behaviour. It is said that online self-disclosure is one of the forms of risky behaviours online, which often occurs in adolescence. However, it is still unclear what do students think about disclosing online.
Thus, the aim of this research is to find out what do adolescents think about the risks and consequences of online self-disclosure.
In order to reach the aim of the study, the method of focus groups has been used. Twenty adolescents (17 females and 3 males), aged from 11 to 17 years, participated in 4 focus group discussions. The collected data of discussion groups has been analysed using content analysis.
The results of the focus groups have shown that, according to adolescents: risky online self-disclosure can be verbal (disclosing personal information, sharing personal ideas and opinions, building relationships, sharing videos) and nonverbal (sharing photos or videos); risky online self-disclosure may cause property damage and interactional problems (identity theft, communication with strangers, cyberbullying). Thus, more attention should be paid in educating adolescents about the risks of online self-disclosure.
Key words: online self-disclosure, adolescents, risky online behaviour