Skip to main content

Disquieted by Online Hate: Negative Experiences of Finnish Adolescents and Young Adults

Abstract

Online hate is becoming a growing public concern, but so far, the phenomenon has not been studied from the perspective of fear of crime. This study examined why some people are disquieted more by hateful online content than others. The data consist of Finnish participants (n = 1726) between 15 and 30 years old. The main analysis focused on participants who had seen online hate content during the past 3 months. The feeling of being disturbed by this type of material is, in this article, operationalized with the concept of disquiet referring to a feeling of anxiety or uneasiness. The findings, based on ordinary least-squares regression analysis (OLS), show that the intensity of such negative experiences was stronger for women, immigrants, and those who had faced previous online and offline victimization. Risk-takers were less likely to be disquieted by online hate. In addition, those worrying about becoming online hate victims were more disquieted by online hate than others. The findings emphasize that online hate content may have a strong impact on those who are already in a vulnerable position. Overall, the study supports the idea that online and offline worlds are not two separate realities but rather coexisting dimensions of one social sphere.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Anderson, C. A., Shibuya, A., Ihori, N., Swing, E. L., Bushman, B. J., Sakamoto, A., et al. (2010). Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 136(2), 151.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Box, S., Hale, C., & Andrews, G. (1988). Explaining fear of crime. British Journal of Criminology, 28(3), 340–356.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Burnap, P., & Williams, M. L. (2015). Cyber hate speech on twitter: An application of machine classification and statistical modeling for policy and decision making. Policy and Internet, 7(2), 223–242.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Burnap, P., Williams, M. L., Sloan, L., Rana, O., Housley, W., Edwards, A., et al. (2014). Tweeting the terror: Modelling the social media reaction to the Woolwich terrorist attack. Social Network Analysis and Mining, 4(1), 206.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Callanan, V., & Rosenberger, J. S. (2015). Media, gender, and fear of crime. Criminal Justice Review, 40(3), 322–339.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Cops, D., Pleysier, S., & Put, J. (2012). Worrying about the future and fear of crime among young adults: A social psychological approach. Journal of Youth Studies, 15(2), 191–205.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Costello, M., Hawdon, J., Ratliff, T., & Grantham, T. (2016). Who views online extremism? Individual attributes leading to exposure. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 311–320.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Costello, M., Hawdon, J., & Ratliff, T. N. (2017). Confronting online extremism the effect of self-help, collective efficacy, and guardianship on being a target for hate speech. Social Science Computer Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439316666272.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers (2016). Recommendation No. R (97)20. Recommendations and declarations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in the field of media and information society. Retrieved from: https://go.coe.int/JgjV1 [Date of Access: February 22, 2017].

  11. Faris, R., Ashar, A., Gasser, U., & Joo, D. (2016). Understanding harmful speech online. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society Research Publication Series https://cyber.harvard.edu/publications/2016/UnderstandingHarmfulSpeec.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hamby, S., & Grych, J. H. (2016). The complex dynamics of victimization: Understanding differential vulnerability without blaming the victim. In C. A. Cuevas & C. Rennison (Eds.), Handbook on the psychology of violence (pp. 66–86). Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Hanslmaier, M. (2013). Crime, fear and subjective well-being: How victimization and street crime affect fear and life satisfaction. European Journal of Criminology, 10(5), 515–533.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hawdon, J., Oksanen, A., & Räsänen, P. (2017). Exposure to online hate in four nations: A cross-national consideration. Deviant Behavior, 38(3), 254–266.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Helweg-Larsen, K., Schütt, N., & Larsen, H. B. (2012). Predictors and protective factors for adolescent internet victimization: results from a 2008 nationwide Danish youth survey. Acta Pediatrica, 101, 533–539.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Henson, B., Reyns, B. W., & Fisher, B. S. (2013). Fear of crime online? Examining the effect of risk, previous victimization, and exposure on fear of online interpersonal victimization. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 29(4), 475–497.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hicks, S., & Brown, S. (2013). Perceptions of risk: a review of the effects of individual and community-level variables on perceptions of risk. International Review of Victimology, 19(3), 249–267.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Higgins, G. E., Ricketts, M. L., & Vegh, D. T. (2008). The role of self-control in college student’s perceived risk and fear of online victimization. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 33(2), 223–233.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Hough, M. (2004). Worry about crime: Mental events or mental states? International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 7(2), 173–176.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Jackson, J. (2005). Validating new measures of the fear of crime. International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory and Practice, 8(4), 297–315.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Jackson, J. (2009). A psychological perspective on vulnerability in the fear of crime. Psychology, Crime and Law, 15(4), 365–390.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Jackson, J. (2011). Revisiting risk sensitivity in the fear of crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 48(4), 513–537.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kaakinen, M., Oksanen, A., & Räsänen, P. (2018). Did the risk of exposure to online hate increase after the November 2015 Paris attacks? A group relations approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 78, 90–97.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Keipi, T., Näsi, M., Oksanen, A., & Räsänen, P. (2017). Online hate and harmful content: Cross-national perspectives. Abingdon& New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Kivivuori, J., Kemppi, S., & Smolej, M. (2002). Etusivujen väkivalta: väkivalta iltapäivälehtien etusivuilla, todellisuudessa ja ihmisten peloissa 1980–2000. Oikeuspoliittisen tutkimuslaitoksen julkaisuja 196. Helsinki: Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Kohm, S. A., Waid-Lindberg, C. A., Weinrath, M., Shelley, T. O., & Dobbs, R. R. (2012). The impact of media on fear of crime among university students: A cross-national comparison. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 54(1), 67–100.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Lee, M., & Farrall, S. (Eds.). (2008). Fear of crime: Critical voices in an age of anxiety. London: Glasshouse.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Livingstone, S., & Helsper, E. (2010). Balancing opportunities and risks in teenagers’ use of the internet: The role of online skills and internet self-efficacy. New Media and Society, 12(2), 309–329.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Mesch, G. S. (2000). Perceptions of risk, lifestyle activities, and fear of crime. Deviant Behavior, 21(1), 47–62.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., Wolak, J., Ybarra, M. L., & Turner, H. (2011). Youth internet victimization in a broader victimization context. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48, 128–134.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Moons, W. G., Eisenberger, N. I., & Taylor, S. E. (2010). Anger and fear responses to stress have different biological profiles. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 24(2), 215–219.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Moore, S. C. (2006). The value of reducing fear: An analysis using the European social survey. Applied Economics, 38(1), 115–117.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Navarro, J. N., & Jasinski, J. L. (2012). Going cyber: Using routine activities theory to predict cyberbullying experiences. Sociological Spectrum, 32(1), 81–94.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Näsi, M., Oksanen, A., Keipi, T., & Räsänen, P. (2015). Cybercrime victimization among young people: A multi-nation study. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, 16(2), 203–210.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Oksanen, A., Hawdon, J., Holkeri, E., Näsi, M., & Räsänen, P. (2014). Exposure to online hate among young social media users. In M. N. Warehime (Ed.), Sociological studies of children & youth, 18 (1), 253–273. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Oksanen, A., & Keipi, T. (2013). Young people as victims of crime on the internet: A population-based study in Finland. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 8(4), 298–309.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Oksanen, A., Näsi, M., Minkkinen, J., Keipi, T., Kaakinen, M., & Räsänen, P. (2016). Young people who access harm-advocating online content: A four-country survey. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(2), 6. https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2016-2-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Oksanen, A., Kaakinen, M., Minkkinen, J., Räsänen, P., Enjolras, B., & Steen-Johnsen, K. (2018). Perceived societal fear and cyberhate after the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Terrorism & Political Violence. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2018.1442329.

  39. Official Statistics of Finland. (2015). Use of information and communications technology by indi- viduals. Helsinki: Statistics Finland Retrieved from: http://www.stat.fi/til/sutivi/index_en.html [Date of Access: February 22, 2017].

    Google Scholar 

  40. Perry, B., & Olsson, P. (2009). Cyberhate: The globalization of hate. Information and Communications Technology Law, 18(2), 185–199.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Pratt, T. C., Holtfreter, K., & Reisig,M. D. (2010). Routine online activity and internet fraud targeting: Extending the generality of routine activity theory. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 47(3), 267–296.

  42. Roche, S. P., Pickett, J. T., & Gertz, M. (2016). The scary world of online news? Internet news exposure and public attitudes toward crime and justice. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 32(2), 215–236.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Scheufele, D. A. (1999). Framing as a theory of media effects. Journal of Communication, 49(1), 103–122. 21.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Shechory-Bitton, M., & Soen, D. (2016). Community cohesion, sense of threat, and fear of crime: The refugee problem as perceived by Israeli residents. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 14(4), 290–306.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Smith, S. J., & Pain, R. (2008). Critical geopolitics and everyday fears. In S. Farral & M. Lee (Eds.), Fear of crime: Critical voices in an age of anxiety (pp. 45–58). London: Glasshouse.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Smolej, M., & Kivivuori, J. (2006). The relation between crime news and fear of violence. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, 7(2), 211–227.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Snedker, K. A. (2015). Neighborhood conditions and fear of crime: A reconsideration of sex differences. Crime and Delinquency, 61(1), 45–70.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Tan, S. Y., & Haining, R. (2016). Crime victimization and the implications for individual health and wellbeing: A Sheffield case study. Social Science & Medicine, 167, 128–139.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Vilalta, C. J. (2016). Does the Mexican War on Organized Crime Mediate the Impact of Fear of Crime on Daily Routines? Crime & Delinquency 2016, 62(11), 1448–1464.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Warr, M. (1984). Fear of victimization: Why are women and the elderly more afraid? Social Science Quarterly, 65(3), 681–702.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Ybarra, M. L., Mitchell, K. J., & Korchmaros, J. D. (2011). National trends in exposure to and experiences of violence on the internet among children. Pediatrics, 128(6), e1376–e1386.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Wu, Y., Klahm, C. F., & Atoui, N. (2016). Fear of crime among Arab Americans in a culture of fear. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Online First. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2016.1252462.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Wall, D. S., & Williams, M. L. (2013). Policing cybercrime: Networked and social media technologies and the challenges for policing. Policing and Society, 23(4), 409–412.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Williams, M. L., & Burnap, P. (2015). Cyberhate on social media in the aftermath of Woolwich: A case study in computational criminology and big data. British Journal of Criminology, 56(2), 211–238.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Williams, M. L., Edwards, A., Housley, W., Burnap, P., Rana, O., Avis, N., Morgan, J., & Sloan, L. (2013). Policing cyber-Neighbourhoods: Tension monitoring and social media networks. Policing and Society, 23(4), 461–481.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

The research was funded by Kone Foundation (2013–2016).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Atte Oksanen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Savimäki, T., Kaakinen, M., Räsänen, P. et al. Disquieted by Online Hate: Negative Experiences of Finnish Adolescents and Young Adults. Eur J Crim Policy Res 26, 23–37 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-018-9393-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Online hate
  • Victimization
  • Fear of crime
  • Disquiet
  • Anxiety
  • Youth