Youth Digital Safety Experiences in Different Sociotechnical Environments and Spaces

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Digital technologies, such as mobile devices, social virtual reality, and social networks, play an increasingly significant role in both posing risks and creating opportunities for youth. In this dissertation, Study 1 contributes to a relational understanding of the digital-safety landscape faced by youth around digitally-mediated attacks, adding nuance, complexity, and comprehensiveness to prior work that are important to consider in research, design, and policy efforts to support the digital safety of youth. This study broadens the understanding of digital threats by providing a nuanced image of attackers and threats. Study 2 investigates teenagers’ experiences with harassment in social virtual reality (social VR) from the perspectives teenagers, parents, and bystanders. This research contributes to the literature by identifying new forms of harassment in social VR. This research is also the first study to take a multi-stakeholder perspective in VR and highlights the discrepancies among these three groups regarding their perceptions and responses to these threats. Study 3 explores the help-seeking behavior of youth in response to digital harms and threats. It describe the support systems that youth engage with, and how their help-seeking behaviors differ based on the digital threats they encounter, actual or anticipated risks, and the severity and persistence of risks. Together these chapters illuminate the multidimensional landscape of youth digital abuse, examining its complexities from various perspectives.

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214 pages


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Digital Safety; Social Media; Social Virtual Reality; Technology; Youth


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Union Local


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Bazarova, Natalya

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Choudhury, Tanzeem
Levy, Karen

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Information Science

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Ph. D., Information Science

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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