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The grey areas of Internet use: secret affairs in cyberspace and religiosity

Version 2 2024-06-06, 01:59
Version 1 2022-10-11, 23:44
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 01:59 authored by Wilson LiWilson Li, ACM Leung, WT Yue
PurposeThe anonymity of the Internet supports an increasing number of deviant behaviors such as secret affairs. This paper aims to investigate whether religiosity has a negative relationship with the incidence of secret affairs in cyberspace and how it moderates the substitution effect between the use of online and off-line channels for such deviant behaviors.Design/methodology/approachThe authors constructed a cross-sectional county-level dataset containing data on US religious adherents' ratios and actual expenditures on a social website related to extramarital affairs. The data were analyzed by ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares regression models.FindingsIn general, religiosity has a negative relationship with secret affairs in cyberspace. It also moderates the relationship between using online (secret affairs websites) and off-line (entertainment facilities) channels for extramarital affairs. The deterrent effect of religiosity is weakened in religious communities with diversified religious teachings/structures and stricter requirements.Originality/valueThis work enriches the understanding of the role of religiosity in online deviant behaviors and provides essential insights for policymakers (e.g. in relation to spillover effects of social norms in cyberspace).

History

Journal

Internet Research

Volume

32

Pagination

1-23

Location

Bingley, Eng.

ISSN

1066-2243

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

1

Publisher

Emerald Publishing Limited