Virtual technologies as tools of maltreatment

Safeguarding in digital spaces

Authored by: Emma Kavanagh , Chelsea Litchfield , Jaquelyn Osborne

Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367193256
eBook ISBN: 9780429201745
Adobe ISBN:


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Digital technologies have become an essential component in the navigation of everyday tasks and activities. In the midst of a technological zeitgeist, our ‘real’ lives have become intimately entangled with new media and ‘virtual’ environments. Virtual platforms and technologies have proven to be valuable to athletes, coaches, and fans, but with increased connection comes the potential for misuse and abuse within these spaces. The chapter will demonstrate that virtual settings are potentially perilous spaces which can easily lead to the abuse of athletes and other key stakeholders in sport. This is particularly due to the largely unregulated nature of these spaces, which allows for varied forms of maltreatment to take place. The chapter considers some of the dangers posed by online environments, reinforces the importance of safeguarding individuals in such spaces, and proposes avenues for further research in this area.

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