The topic of online victimization of youth has started to grow in breadth and coherence, with valuable studies focusing extensively on online sexual victimization (Finkelhor, Mitchell, & Wolak, 2000; Mitchell, Finkelhor, & Wolak, 2003a, 2004), or even more specifically, on online harassment (Ybarra, Mitchell, Wolak, & Finkelhor, 2006) and Internet-initiated sex crimes (Walsh & Wolak, 2005).
More recent approaches suggest that an authoritative, adult viewpoint to youth’s behavior online that would further emphasize parental control is only prone to produce normative statements, panic-driven recommendations, without a comprehensive understanding of “what the kids are really doing online” (Goodstein, 2007; Wolak, Finkelhor, Mitchell, & Ybarra, 2008, p.2).
Therefore, there is a need for contextualizing Internet use within everyday practices, for seeing children as active agents, in order to avoid constructing them as passive or vulnerable (Livingstone, 2002).
In Livingstone’s perspective, the depiction of children as vulnerable only legitimates further disempowerment and adult authority in the regulation of children’s life.
In light of the fast pace of Internet adoption and the spread of new uses, it becomes more and more necessary to view the children as skilled agents in using different Internet tools, often more skilled that most adults: On the contrary, the discourse of innocence is reinforced through calls for adults to ‘do more to make the Internet safer for children’.