Abstract- Development and assessment of a scale of Internet risks among Latin American youth


Digital technologies constitute an integral part of adolescents’ lives, generating many benefits and risks across multiple domains. While research has examined specific online risks most studies fail to capture the interdependency among a broad constellation of risks. Our study will use the EU Kids ‘Classification of Online Risks’ to develop a latent construct and evaluate psychometrically the dimensionality of a scale of a comprehensive array of internet risks. We used data from Kids Online Uruguay, a national representative random sample of adolescents (n=473) to develop and test the dimensionality of this construct. The scale involved 21 risks items taping on six risk sub-dimensions. The dimensionality and validation of the scale was tested using Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor analyses, and Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis. Our findings provide moderate support for the multidimensionality of the scale with respect to a unidimensional structure. Additionally, IRT reveals that there is little redundancy among the 21 items of the scale and that future scales should incorporate additional complex items that tap on low risk/harm internet risks. This study provides partial validation for Livingstone et al.’s (2015) theoretical typology of online risks and confirms the importance of developing psychometrical validated measures.