From 'What the F#@% is a Facebook?' to 'Who Doesn't Use Facebook?': The role of criminal lifestyles in the adoption and use of the Internet

Richard K. Moule, David C. Pyrooz, Scott Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Concerns about a digital divide persist and recent calls have been made for understanding how lifestyles influence Internet adoption and use. Online criminal behaviors have drawn attention from law enforcement, but diffusion of innovation theory suggests higher propensities for crime, particularly street crime, reduces the likelihood of Internet use. Drawing from this theory and research on the role of street criminal lifestyles on technology adoption, this study examined patterns of Internet use among a sample of 585 individuals at-risk for and involved in street crime. Results from our logistic and negative binomial regression analyses lead to two general conclusions: (1) compared to research on the general population, similar predictors and lower rates of Internet participation and usage are observed, and (2) mixed evidence suggests participation in criminal lifestyles contributes to digital inequality. The results support a theory of technological diffusion to marginalized populations. We conclude by discussing the expansion of technology, digital inequality, and crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1421
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013



  • Digital divide
  • Digital inequality
  • Internet
  • Marginalization
  • Offenders
  • Online behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this