Awareness of the Risks and Dangers of Social Networking: Exploration on Four Types of Malaysian Secondary Schools

Thang Siew Ming, Lay Shi Ng, Adzuhaidah M. Taha


While social networking (SN) undoubtedly plays a vital role in the life of today's teenagers, its risks cannot be overlooked. SN can be a pervasive technology which can result in "risky behaviours". Issues linked to such behaviours have been investigated in a variety of contexts abroad (however, less so in the Malaysian context). The study aims at investigating Malaysian Secondary school students’ awareness of the risks and dangers of SN. A quantitative approach involving a questionnaire survey was used to collect data. The questionnaire was designed to elicit information from the students regarding their awareness of the risks and dangers as well as abuse of the SN systems such as cyberbullying, harassment, sexting etc. The questionnaire was distributed to all available Form Four students from four selected schools in the Klang Valley and Selangor i.e. an urban school, a suburban school, a rural school and an elite school. The quantitative study was conducted on 562 students from the four schools. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in analysing the data. The findings revealed that there was no rural-urban divide with regard to awareness of the risks and dangers involved in SN. Students in general seemed to be aware of the risks and dangers of SN. Likewise, there was no clear rural-urban divide regarding awareness of privacy issues.  However, there was some ignorance regarding certain risks. For example, they were generally not aware that it was not possible to stay anonymous online. There were also some marked differences across school-types.


Keywords: Social networking, risks and dangers of social networking, rural-urban divide, different school types, teenagers. 

Full Text:



Balakrishnan, V. (2015). Cyberbullying among young adults in Malaysia: The roles of gender, age and internet frequency. Computers in Human Behavior, 46, 149-157.

Berkman, R. I., & Shumway, C. A. (2003). Digital dilemmas: Ethical issues for online media professionals. Ames, IA: Iowa State Press, 386.

Bonneau, J., & Preibusch, S. (2010). The password thicket: Technical and market failures in human authentication on the web. The Ninth Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS 2010).

Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x

Cocking, D., & Matthews, S. (2000). Unreal friends. Ethics and Information Technology, 2(4), 223-231.

Cox Communications. (2007). Research findings: Cox teen Internet safety study wave II. Retrieved from survey_0511, June 14, 2016.

Cowie, H. (2013). Cyberbullying and its impact on young people’s emotional health and well-being. The Psychiatrist, 37, 167-170.

Davidson, J., & Gottschalk, P. (2010). International policy and legislation. In J. Davidson & P. Gottschalk (Eds.), Internet child abuse: Current research, policy and police practice. London: Routledge.

Debatin, B., Lovejoy, J. P., Horn, A., & Hughes, B. N. (2009). Facebook and online privacy: Attitudes, behaviors, and unintended consequences. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15, 83–108.

Digi Telecommunication. (2014). CyberSAFE in schools: A national survey report 2014. The Malaysian Ministry of Education in collaboration with DiGI Telecommunications, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Cyber Security Malaysia.

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221.

Iachello, G., & Hong, J. (2007). End-user privacy in human-computer interaction. Foundations and Trends in Human-Computer Interaction, 1(1), 1-137. Klik dengan Bijak. Retrieved from 27, 2017.

Klik dengan Bijak. Retrieved on December 27, 2017, from

Krish, P., Hussin, S., Sivapuniam, N. (2011). Language learning and language acquIsition in online forums. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal, 17(2), 91-100.

LaRose, R., Rifon, N. J., & Enbody, R. (2006). Promoting personal responsibility for Internet safety. Communication of the ACM, 51(3), 71-76.

Lenhart, A. (2009). Teens and sexting: How and why minor teens are sending sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images via text messaging. Retrieved on June 14, 2016, from

Lenhart, A., Ling, R., Campbell, S., & Purcell, K. (2010). Teens & mobile phones. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved on June 14, 2016, from

Lipford, H. R., Besmer, A., & Watson, J. (2008). Understanding privacy settings in Facebook with an audience view. In Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Usability, Psychology and Security (UPSEC’08) (paper no.2). Berkeley C.A, U.S.A: USENIX Association.

Livingstone, S., & Bober, M. (2004). UK children go online: Surveying the experiences of young people and their parents. London School of Economics and Political Science, 15–21.

Lohmann, R. C. (2012). The dangers of teen sexting - Sexting a problem with

major consequences. Psychology Today, posted Jul 20, 2012. Retrieved on December 10, 2017, from

Mitchell, K. J., Jones, L., Finkelhor, D., & Wolak, J. (2014). Trends in unwanted sexual solicitations: Findings from the Youth Internet Safety studies. Retrieved on 19 December, 2017, from

National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2008). Sex and tech: Results from a survey of teens and young adults. Retrieved on June 14, 2016, from

Ng, L. S., Thang, S. M., & Noorizah Mohd. Noor (2018). The usage of social networking sites for informal learning: A comparative study between Malaysian students of different genders and age groups, International Journal of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT), 8(4).

Noor Azlin Bidin & Normah Mustaffa. (2012). Blogosphere: How youth perceived blogs credibility. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 28(1), 33-54.

Noor Ismawati Jaafar, Bobby Darmawan, & Mohd Yahya Mohamed Ariffin. (2018) Social Networking Site Adoption in Malaysia and Indonesia. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 34(1), 115-134.

O’Keefe, G. S., & Clarke-Pearson, K. (2011). The impact of social media on children, Adolescents and families. Pediatrics, 127(4), 800-804. Retrieved on November 25, 2016, from

Sarina Yusuf, Md. Salleh Hj. Hassan, & Adam Kolo Mohammed Mohammed Ibrahim. (2018). Cyberbullying among Malaysian children based on research evidence. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of information science and technology (4th ed., pp. 1704-1722). Hershey: IGI Global.

Schenk A. M., & Fremouw W. J. (2012). Prevalence, psychological impact, and coping of cyberbully victims among college students. J School Violence, 11, 21-37.

Scott, J. (2016). Children and the Internet: An exploration of Year 5 pupils' online experiences and perceptions of risk. Journal of Huddersfield Student Research, 1-10.

Smith, P., Mahdavi, J. Carvalho, M., & Tippet, N. (2006). An investigation into cyberbullying, its forms, awareness and impact, and the relationship between age and gender in cyberbullying. Research Brief No. RBX03-06. (2019). Active social media users as percentage of the total population in Malaysia from 2016 to 2019. Retrieved on June 2019, from

Strassberg, D. S., McKinnon, R. K., Sustaita, M. A., & Rullo, J. (2013). Sexting by high school students: An exploratory and descriptive study. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 42(1), 15-21.

Strater, K., & Lipford, H. R. (2008). Strategies and struggles with privacy in an online SN community. In Proceedings of the 22nd British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Culture, Creativity, Interaction (BCS-HCI ‘08), pp. 111-119.

Tavani, H. T., & Grodzinsky, F. S. (2002). Cyberstalking, personal privacy and moral responsibility. Ethics and Information Technology, 4(2), 123-132.

Thang, S. M., Noorizah Mohd. Noor, Azuhaidah M. Taha, Ng, L. S., & Noor Baizura Abdul Aziz (2016). Effects of social networking on Malaysian secondary school students: Attitudes, behaviours and awareness of risks. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 24(5), 157-168.

Thang, S. M., & Ng, L. S. (2020). Influence of age groups and school types on informal learning through the use of Social Networking sites. In Zou, B. & Thomas M. (Eds.), Recent developments in technology - Enhanced and computer-assisted language learning (pp. 30-47). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing.

Toktam Namayandeh Joorabchi, Md. Salleh Hj Hassan & Mohd. Nizam Osman. (2013). Relationship between Internet usage and positive youth development in Malaysia. Search: The Journal of the South East Asia Research Centre for Communications and Humanities, 5(2), 37-64.

Wolak, J., Mitchell, K., & Finkelhor, D. (2006). Online victimization of youth, five years later. Retrieved on June 14, 2016 from

Wolak, J., Finkelhor, D., Mitchell, K. J., & Ybarra, M. L. (2008). Online ‘‘predators’’ and their victims: Myths, realities, and implications for prevention and treatment. American Psychologist, 63, 111 – 128.

Youn, S. (2009). Determinants of online privacy concern and its influence on privacy protection behaviors among young adolescents. The Journal of Consumer Afairs, 43(3), 389.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

e-ISSN: 2289-1528