Table ronde: Becoming Delinquent Online: Drift And The Digital Domain

The proliferation of digitally­-mediated communication technologies in everyday life, and in particular, the use of the Internet, has radically transformed the potential for criminal encounters in both online and offline settings. In a recent article in T​heoretical Criminology,​ we argued that the Internet features increasingly in accounts of how adolescents enter into different areas of criminal activity including terrorism and child pornography. We proposed the concept of ‘digital drift’ as a means to specify aspects of the development of criminal commitments online, and demonstrate their ephemeral dimensions. In this session we aim to take this concept further, and elaborate upon empirical efforts to examine the formation of criminal commitments and the extent to which individuals escalate and de­-escalate in delinquent activities. This will be accomplished through a discussion of an empirical pilot study of ‘risky’ Internet use amongst a cohort of secondary school students, which probes the extent of flirtations with delinquency and elucidates the boundaries of illicit involvements. Garnering a greater understanding of the nature of such interactions not only serves to empirically ground theorisations of drift, but also makes possible the development of new insights as to how to deter, or compel individuals to desist from delinquency online.

This content has been updated on 8 August 2016 at 17 h 49 min.