Meeting online strangers offline: The nature of upsetting experiences of adolescent girls

Abstract

The present study focuses on meeting online strangers face-to-face. This activity represents one of the least prevalent but also most feared online risks for youth. Due to the low number of youth experiencing upsetting meetings and the dominance of quantitative research designs in the area, the current state of knowledge does not provide a clear view of what happens at meetings that youths find upsetting. The aim of the present study is to enrich knowledge in this area by exploring such upsetting experiences in more depth by using qualitative methodology.

Based on 14 interviews with Czech girls aged 15 to 18, who reported upsetting meetings with online strangers, the study identifies the discrepancy between expectations and reality as the core reason for these negative feelings. There were several reasons for this discrepancy: different developmental phases, related different experiences with romantic relationships, and exaggeration of impressions formed online.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.

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