Donnerstein, E. (2012). The internet as ‘fast and furious’ content. In W. Warburton, D. Braunstein (Eds.) , Growing up fast and furious: Reviewing the impacts of violent and sexualised media on children (pp. 116-128). Annandale, NSW Australia: The Federation Press.
(from the chapter) The chapters in this book examine a substantial range of negative influences on children from media exposure. These include television/ film violence, videogame violence, advertising, sexual content and music with aggressive content. Newer technologies, such as the internet and mobile devices have drastically changed the availability, and consequently the influences, of potentially harmful media on children and adolescents. Unlike traditional media such as television and film, there are relatively fewer studies on the impact of exposure to harmful materials on the internet. With regard to motivation, the internet is “ubiquitous”, in that it is always on and can easily be accessed, thus leading to high levels of exposure. In the world of new technology there is no “family-viewing hour”. Online content can be interactive and more engaging, which has the ability for increased learning and certainly exposure time. From a disinhibitory aspect the content is unregulated. Studies suggest that extreme forms of violent or sexual content are more prevalent on the internet than in other popular media (eg, Strasburger et al, 2010). Participation is private and anonymous, which allows for the searching of materials that a child or adolescent would normally not seek out with traditional media. There is the suggestion that finding such materials could increase social support for these images and messages (for example, sites for bulimia and hate groups: Strasburger et al, 2010). Finally, online media exposure is much more difficult for parents to monitor than media exposure in traditional venues. Opportunity aspects play a more important role in the area of cyberbullying or child sexual exploitation. Potential victims are readily available and reachable, and the identity of the “aggressor” is often disguised (as is often the case with pedophiles). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)