Are victims to blame? Youth, gender and moral discourse on online risk

Ana Jorge, Lorleen Farrugia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article takes a discourse analysis frame to understand how young people’s norms and moral evaluations of their practices on digital media are culturally negotiated between their own and their peers’ experiences, parental concerns, awareness programmes and media representations. It draws on focus groups and interviews with 171 participants aged 13–16 from nine European countries, analysing how young people position themselves towards online experiences, particularly bullying, sexual communication and contact. While teenagers can sympathize with victims of bullying, especially if they perceive them as vulnerable, they can blame older teenagers, girls or parents for initiating or being co-responsible for risks young victims are involved in. They are judged as in failing, when they choose to not comply with self-protection and self-vigilance (Giddens 1991, Dobson and Ringrose 2015, Gill and Scharf 2011), which can be detected in young people’s moral discourses as a successful way of being and behaving online
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-301
JournalCatalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • discourse
  • online risk
  • digital media
  • cross-cultural
  • young people
  • responsibility


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