The moderating roles of gender and social norms on the relationship between protection motivation and risky online behavior among in-service teachers

Hui Lien Chou, Chih-Yuan Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Online safety problems, such as computer virus infections, malicious software, phishing and personal data theft or leakage, have worsened in recent years and are often exacerbated by Internet users’ thoughtless online behavior. In-service teachers, particularly those in compulsory education, constitute a population of Internet users that is seldom investigated. Nevertheless, teachers play a vital role in shaping adolescents’ online safety behavior and can impart the concepts of online safety to students through their interactions in daily life. Consequently, the motivations for teachers’ risky online behavior warrant further investigation. The findings of prior studies involving online safety behavior based on protection motivation theory (PMT) have been mixed, which suggests the existence of moderating factors. The present study recruited 505 in-service teachers and examined the moderating roles of gender and social norms based on PMT using a multigroup analysis. We also conducted qualitative interviews to corroborate the results of the statistical analysis. The results indicate that to prevent teachers from engaging in risky online behavior, it is necessary – but not sufficient – to enhance teachers’ skills in coping with online safety problems or to create a climate that encourages them to adopt protective measures. The role of coping self-efficacy varied with perceived social norms, and the function of perceived response efficacy was contingent on gender. The implications for the theoretical understanding of and practical suggestions for online safety education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Education
Volume112
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Adult learning
  • Gender studies
  • Media in education

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