ABSTRACT

Risk is a part of daily life, a part whose severity varies a great deal and whose situational components are determined by a variety of factors. The study of risk and victimisation in the online setting benefits from an understanding of the foundational risk frameworks developed for offline situations. Lifestyle Exposure Theory (LET) and Routine Activity Theory (RAT) form the basis of much research into victimisation dynamics and as such are assessed here for use in the online environment. Together, they provide key areas of comparison between online and offline risks while also pointing to practical deficiencies due to having been developed before wide-scale Internet usage and the tools it provides through social media. The Internet has brought forth enhancements to access, visibility and expression whose scope goes beyond that of earlier theory. Despite key components relevant to online study being present in these theories based on offline research, the online setting warrants a new look into how its mechanisms influence situations of victimisation while also altering the affecting capabilities of aggressors and victims.