Behind the Curtains of e-State: Determinants of Online Sexual Harassment Among Estonian Children

Kadri Soo, Mare Ainsaar, Veronika Kalmus


This article analyses the risk of receiving online sexual messages and experiencing harm among Estonian children. In particular, the paper examines the association between receiving sexual messages and behavioural, psychological and demographic characteristics, and the social mediation of children’s Internet use. Estonian data from ‘EU Kids Online’ survey are used, involving 780 children aged 11-16. Results demonstrate that 19% of children who use the Internet have received online sexual messages, and 6% have felt disturbed. The probability of receiving sexual messages online is higher for children with risky online and offl ine behaviour and psychological diffi culties. Perceiving online messages as sexually harassing is higher among children with excessive Internet use, lower levels of parental monitoring and higher levels of peer mediation of Internet use. The risk of exposure to harassing sexual messages also diff ers by age and, more notably, by the minority status. Mediation by parents and teachers plays an insignifi cant role in reducing teenagers’ risks of receiving sexual messages.


sexual messaging; online sexual harassment; children; social mediation of Internet use; Estonia

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