Youth online safety and cybercrime prevention

Youth online safety and cyber crime prevention

The dark side of the digital age has a high profile in the media, with a particular focus on young people.

Rapid technological advances have seen systems and institutions struggle to keep pace in developing policies and procedures that are relevant and useful to modern society.

But those born since the 1990s have never known a world without the Internet, or hand-held digital devices. Their use poses new and significant threats to security and personal safety – and have proved problematic for both the legal and education systems.

So what can be done to prevent risky behaviour online?

Our Digital Youth Laboratory is addressing gaps in knowledge of how adolescents operate in the digital world and how this changes over time. Dr Russell Brewer, who leads the Digital Youth Laboratory at the University of Adelaide, is interested in how individual and social factors shape a young person’s use of technology, especially patterns of Internet use that may be risky.

Researchers from our Laboratory are involved in a world-first and multi-university study of almost 2000 adolescents across the metropolitan area. This project has involved asking young people about their online experiences, interactions and capabilities – and will continue over the next four years. Early results show that cyber risk-taking is pervasive across adolescence.

In addition to examining the factors linked to cyber risk-taking, Laboratory researchers are also involved in evaluating the effectiveness of tools designed to prevent it. This work looks at how young people experience regulation in their digital lives and how they respond to digital oversight, monitoring and intervention.

The Digital Youth Laboratory is working with other universities to expand the reach of this work both nationally and internationally. The researchers want to help create a safer online environment by arming families, schools and creators of public policy with the knowledge and understanding to promote positive digital experiences.


Featured researcher

Dr Russell Brewer
Senior Lecturer in Criminology, leader of the Digital Youth Laboratory
School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics 

Featured researcher

Dr Colette Langos
Senior Lecturer
Adelaide Law School
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics 

Tagged in Defence, cyber and space, cyber security, cyber law, adolescent risk-taking, digital youth laboratory