The Myth of the Tech-Savvy Teen and the Clueless Senior Citizen

Date01 September 2018
Published date01 September 2018
Subject MatterArticles
The Myth of the Tech-Savvy
Teen and the Clueless
Senior Citizen: Revisiting
Victimization Over the
Life Course
Travis C. Pratt
It is a popular idea that younger people are more technology-savvy than their older counterparts. It
is an equally popular idea that our oldest generation—senior citizens—is so clueless about new
technological developments that they are the most vulnerable to technology-based forms of victi-
mization. The present article, however, demonstrates that these ideas are myths and that it is the
young—not the old—who are most at risk of victimization when technology is involved. This should
come as no surprise since the age–victimization curve mirrors rather closely the age–crime curve,
where the risk of victimization typically peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood and follows a
steady decline thereafter. The risks associated with technologically based forms of victimization—at
least in general—are no different. The implications of dispelling these myths for criminological
research as we move forward are discussed in the context of the nature of “risky” behaviors at
different stages of the life course.
technology, victimization, life course
Criminologists often find themselves being “MythBusters.” And there has been no shortage of myths
to bust, as we have had to set the record straight several times. In just the last few decades, for
example, scholars have challenged the popular notion that we can build our way out of the crime
problem with more and more prisons (it turns out, we cannot, see Pratt, 2009), some thought we
could eradicate violent crime by arresting people for minor offenses like using a squeegee on an
unsuspecting motorists’ windshield (an proposition, i.e., at best, wildly overstated, see Harcourt,
University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Corresponding Author:
Travis C. Pratt, University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute, 2840 Bearcat Way, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA.
Criminal Justice Review
2018, Vol. 43(3) 360-369
ª2018 Georgia State University
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0734016818763245

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