A safe haven for misbehaving?: An investigation of online misbehavior among university students

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Although considerable academic interest has focused on serious cyber-crimes, more commonplace Internet misuses (e.g., misrepresentation of self, unauthorized downloading, Internet pornography, online plagiarism, and other cyber-cheating ) have received less attention. Although these transgressions are of minor legal importance, they merit closer academic scrutiny. Based on a self-report study of 1,222 U.K. undergraduate students, this article explores the prevalence, nature, and underpinning facilitators of five examples of Internet-based misbehavior. Although more than 90 of respondents self-reported online misbehavior during the past 12 months, significant differences are evident in gender, Internet expertise, and, to a lesser extent, age. Although respondents portrayed the Internet as a more conducive environment for misbehavior, the survey data report a strong correlation between respondents propensity to misbehave in online and offline contexts. These data highlight the need to contextualize cyber-deviance in relation to the offline life world of the Internet user and the Internet s wider role in everyday life. ? 2008 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446 - 465
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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