A qualitative study of digital sex offenses among adolescents

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Anne Deichmann Nielsen
  • Kristina Barnbæk
  • Mille Braagaard Rasmussen
This master thesis analyzes how digital sex offenses among adolescents can be understood through their online culture, online sexuality culture and gender norms. To answer this question, we have constructed the design of this research as a qualitative study, using an adaptive approach. We have gathered data consisting of six focus groups with a total of 33 8th grade students aged 14-15. These six focus groups are represented by three groups of girls and three groups of boys from three dif-ferent public schools in Aalborg Kommune, Denmark.
Our results find that online culture today has great meaning in the life of adolescents within this range of age, where social interaction primarily consists of imagery-based communication on social media. The sexual culture of adolescents today is deeply intertwined with the shared online culture, and digital platforms occur to be a big part of their practices of gender and sexuality. Therefore, sexting within romantic, intimate relations takes place in these established digital prac-tices shared online where sharing intimate images of each other within these relations is a central part of sexting.
We find that the existing gender norms within the online sexual culture of adolescents, are comprehensive and reflect normative perceptions of gender roles. Within sexting, the expectations of both girls and boys are seen to be based upon stereotypical ways to reflect on gender, where the role of boys is characterized by requesting intimate images of the girls, whereas the role of girls is characterized by having to grant this request by sharing intimate images of themselves.
As a result of this developed online sexting practice, consequences are seen to occur when consensual sexting turns into digital sex offenses in the sharing of one’s image without consent. This action causes severe consequences for the reputation of the victim, where gender inequality exists in the way that girls experience worse social sanctioning than boys do. This reflects the normative conception of gender roles where girls therefore become more exposed to being victims of digital sex offenses.
From a criminological perspective, we find that the online culture, online sexual culture, and gender norms play a central role in understanding the phenomenon of digital sex offenses among adolescents aged 14-15 in Aalborg Kommune.
Publication date27 Jun 2023
Number of pages94
External collaboratorSSP-Sekretariatet, Aalborg Kommune
SSP-konsulent Sean Revill sre-jv@aalborg.dk
Place of Internship
ID: 533090232