Canceling Cancel Culture
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People are increasingly being ostracized online when violating social norms: a practice referred to as canceling. Studies point to the negative influence of cancel culture on the level of adults’ perceived freedom of speech. However, consequences of the online cancel culture on adolescents’ perceived freedom of speech have been understudied. The aim of this study is to investigate whether exposure to the online cancel culture decreases adolescents’ perceived freedom of speech within online and offline contexts. To answer this question, an online survey was conducted among 189 adolescents (N=189) from 18-25 years old. Regression analyses indicate that exposure to the online cancel culture, does not cause the offline perceived freedom of speech of youth to decrease. Gender differences were also investigated, since it was expected that girls would be affected to a greater extent by the online cancel culture than boys. We did not find support for this notion. What we did find is that boys were exposed to the online cancel culture more often, which could be due to the fact that they used social media more often. Strikingly enough, boys were also the ones to state to experience a higher level of freedom of speech within offline contexts.