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The Impact of Contemporary Communication Technology on Undergraduate Students’ Dating Violence Episodes: An Exploration of Routine Activity Theory

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: The study was an empiricalexploration of the kinds of communication technologies used in perpetratingdifferent forms of Cyber Dating Abuse. The study was guided by Routineactivities theory which states that the daily activities that individualsengage in make them susceptible to Cyber Dating Abuse. The study utilized datacollected from 315 dating undergraduate students from selected universities inNairobi City County, Kenya. The research design used in the study was a cross-sectionaldescriptive survey. The results showed that respondents mainly used smartphonesto constantly exchange calls, text messages and instant messages on socialmedia. Instant messaging on WhatsApp was most frequently used to perpetrateCyber Dating Abuse. The findings indicate that the social interaction affordedby the use of various digital media made it possible for motivated offenders toencounter suitable victims (in this case their partners). An extended use ofdigital media by the victims increased their visibility and accessibility tothe offender. A Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient r (313) = 0.20, p ≤ 0.001 established thatthe amount of time spent online was statistically and significantly positivelyassociated with higher Cyber Dating Abuse victimization. Since digital mediakeeps evolving with chances that the youth will keep using it, this impliesthat Cyber Dating Abuse victimization is likely to persist. This calls for a needfor universities to have critical discussions on how Cyber Dating Abuse, can beprevented to avoid its escalation which may lead to worse consequences onstudents’ psychological health and academic outcomes.

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