Cyber-routines, Political Attitudes, and Exposure to Violence-Advocating Online Extremism

The Internet’s relatively unfettered transmission of information risks exposing individuals to extremist content. Using online survey data (N = 768) of American youth and young adults, we examine factors that bring individuals into contact with online material advocating violence. Combining aspects of social structure-social learning theory with insights from routine activity theory, we find that exposure to violence-advocating materials is positively correlated with online behaviors, including the use of social media platforms and the virtual spaces individuals frequent. Target antagonism is also correlated with exposure to violence-advocating materials, but guardianship and online and offline associations are not. Finally, feelings of dissatisfaction with major social institutions and economic disengagement are associated with exposure to violent materials online.

Tags: economic disengagement, Extremist Content, Online Extremism, Social Media