Does perceived social networking site security arise from actual and perceived physical safety?

Jessica E. Bodford, Cameron J. Bunker, Virginia S.Y. Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite widespread concerns with social networking site (SNS) security, little research has determined why some are more concerned about SNS security than others. The present research proposes that people may derive their sense of security in SNSs from how safe they are and feel in their physical environment. Specifically, this research examined the relationships between participants' (N = 1262; 47.9% women) perceived neighborhood safety, perceived SNS security, and physical environments as defined by their neighborhood zip code. Findings showed that safety in one's physical environment predicted their perception of physical safety, which in turn predicted their perception of SNS security. These relations held even when holding annual household income constant. Together, these findings suggest that perception of safety in offline and online contexts may be closely intertwined. This research highlights the importance of considering features of the physical environment to understand individual differences in the perception of SNS security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106779
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Safety
  • Security
  • Social media
  • Social networking sites
  • Social perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)


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