||With the fast development of Internet technologies, mobile phones and wifi devices are widely adopted in Taiwan. Now almost all Taiwanese adolescents have access to the Internet, and the internet has become essential to their socializing practices. At the same time, mobile dating applications have increased in popularity among adolescents in recent years, which exposed them to various types of social risks. These mobile apps are featured with functions as anonymity, real-time-private-message communication, and location-based matching, which intensified risk behaviors. In recent years, there are many news stories reporting on how adolescents met strangers from online to offline via mobile dating apps, but then they were harassed or even became crime victims. Therefore, this research aims to investigate the moderators of the impacts of adolescents’ motivations for using mobile dating apps on their social risks.|
Based on the Uses and gratifications theory, this study focused on the adolescents’ motives of using the mobile dating apps, and how these motivations influenced social risks directly and indirectly through the mobile dating app usage. Besides, gender, age, narcissism and parental mediation are tested as moderators relevant to the above relationships.
An online questionnaire survey was conducted with 473 adolescents who were 15-17 years old and used one of the mobile dating apps --Goodnight, BeeTalk, Pairs, JustDating, Paktor, 緣圈, Skout, Wootalk. The hyperlink of the questionnaire was shared on popular website among adolescents and small gifts are offered to increase the participation rate.
The survey results show that most adolescents do not often use mobile dating apps. Only 16.5% use them daily. Killing times, curiosity and making new friends are the strongest motivations. Among various types of social risks, adolescents most often give out their personal information. More than half of the respondents had met their online friends face to face. Both physical and social needs directly enhances social risks; however, only physical motivation indirectly influence social risks through the usage of mobile dating apps. Although instructive parental mediation can decrease the usage of mobile dating apps in specific situations, it did not moderate the relationship between motivation and use. Moreover, adolescents’ use of mobile dating apps is affected by their gender (male), age (older) and the personality traits of narcissism. Gender and age can also moderate the relationship between social needs and use, while narcissism can moderate the relationship between use and social risk.