Young people 'almost normalize' cyber-deviant behavior: Study
The country with the highest proportion of criminal and risky behavior is Spain at 75%, followed by Romania, the Netherlands, and Germany at about 72%.
A study published by the University of East London (UEL) revealed that risky and criminal online behavior among young people is at risk of becoming normalized in Europe.
According to the study which was conducted on a population of 8,000 individuals in nine different European countries, namely the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Romania, one in four young persons aged between 16 and 19 admitted to having trolled someone online.
The study also revealed that one in three likewise said they engaged in digital piracy, one in eight have engaged in online harassment, one in ten engaged in hate speech or hacking, one in five have engaged in sexting, one in three have engaged in digital piracy, and four out of ten have watched pornography.
The study was funded by the EU and undertaken in collaboration with the cybercrime center at Europol, an organization that collaborates with crime agencies across the bloc.
According to Julia Davidson, professor of criminology at the University of East London (UEL) who co-authored the research, "The research indicates that a large proportion of young people in the EU are engaging in some form of cybercrime, to such an extent that the conduct of low-level crimes online and online risk-taking has become almost normalised."
The research also pointed out that males were more prone than females to engage in risky or criminal behavior.
Nearly three-quarters of males admitted to some form of cyber deviance, compared to 65% of females.
The country with the highest proportion of criminal and risky behavior was Spain at 75%, followed by Romania, the Netherlands, and Germany at about 72%.
The UK ranked last at 58%.
Some of the questions that were on the survey included whether participants looked at pornography, posted revenge porn, made self-generated sexual images, or posted hate speech.
Results showed that less than half of participants committed acts that could be considered illegal, such as hacking, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and "money muling".
The results have been issued in light of a recent bill that was passed in the EU and the UK meant to create new criminal offenses: the online safety bill.
New offenses include encouraging self-harm on the internet and sharing deepfake pornography.
Passant Khaled, 17, took her own life after a young man she rejected spread deepfake porn of her.— Women's Voices (@WomenReadWomen) January 10, 2022
Passant took poison and died on December 23, leaving a final note to her mother.
“Mum, believe me, the girl in those pictures is not me,” she wrote.https://t.co/YmwfSwDG9Z pic.twitter.com/LQyrTbZIvf
In October, the EU adopted the Digital Services Act, which requires large online platforms like Google to mitigate harmful risks related to cyber deviance.
It also comes in the backdrop of recent warnings issued to Elon Musk amid his recent takeover of Twitter.
The EU's commissioner for digital policy, Thierry Breton, said on December 1 that Twitter will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the new rules of the Digital Services Act, set to take effect next year.
According to Euronews, Bretton and Musk held a video call on November 30 to discuss Twitter's preparedness for the law, which will require tech companies to develop better content moderation measures for their platforms.