Social Media Apps and Risky Sexual Behaviors: An Exploratory Study

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin Mahoney (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Title: Social Media Apps and Risky Sexual Behaviors: An Exploratory Study Authors: Mahoney, E. & Webb, M.C. Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University Social networking sites and apps provide the ability for individuals to connect to almost anyone instantaneously. Currently, over eighty six percent of college students utilize social networking sites. Additionally, college-aged students are developmentally within Emerging Adulthood, a cultural life-stage which is compounded by the added freedoms of college life with more opportunities to manage one’s sexuality and growth as an individual. At the intersection of social media technology and their developmental stage, students may be extending their sexual risk-taking behaviors into the online realm. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the sexual health behaviors associated with the use of social media apps. An online survey was developed to explore associations between frequency of safe-sex practices, rates of sexual partners, STIs, sexual violence, and the usage of a select group of social media apps. 5,000 random ECU undergraduates were invited to participate. Among the current respondents, 52.8% reported having a face-to-face encounter occur resulting from a social media app and within that sub-sample; another 43.8% reported having a sexual encounter arise. This demographic is placing themselves at heightened risks by using drugs and alcohol, engaging with anonymous partners, and not reporting violence when meeting partners off of social media apps. College students are choosing to engage in sexual encounters with multiple, random partners from social media apps and often times forgetting the necessary protective behaviors associated with safe sex.

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Language: English
Date: 2016
Social Media Apps Sexual Behaviors College Students

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