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About Michel Walrave

Michel Walrave is a professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp. He is responsible for the research group MIOS.

Since the nineties he conducts research that centers around one central theme: (online) self-disclosure and privacy.

His research concentrates on individuals’ self-disclosure and privacy in interpersonal online communication, particularly on social network sites. Together with his colleagues, he investigates individuals’ motives of online self-disclosure, but also related opportunities (e.g. in terms of social capital) and risks (e.g. misuse of personal data, cyberbullying). Moreover, how intimate, and sometimes sensitive, disclosures (e.g. sexting) and their consequences can be understood, is one of the topics of his research. 

Besides, he investigates and collaborates in projects on the reasons why internet users entrust personal data to businesses and how consumers deal with new forms of interactive marketing. He focusses on how young people respond to hybrid forms of online marketing that integrate marketing and entertainment and often use or induce personal data disclosures (e.g. advergames, social media marketing). 

At the University of Antwerp, Michel Walrave teaches two courses on marketing communications (Advertising, Sponsoring & PR; Direct Marketing & e-Marketing) and one course on public and social profit communication.

He is also involved in several national and international research networks, amongst others, the Flemish Knowledge Center on Media Literacy, the Healthnar network and the World Internet Project. For the Internet Rights Observatory he collaborated in drafting an advice and book on cyberbullying and one book on minors and online marketing. He is a member of the editorial board of Cyberpsychology and served as a guest-editor of a special issue on privacy. 

Michel Walrave holds a master's degree in Communication Studies, a master in Media and Information Sciences and a PhD in Social Sciences (KU Leuven).

Hereafter you'll find more information about recent publications. In this website, also more information about other publications and current research projects, can be consulted.

For information about the research group MIOS, please check our team's website


Whether or not to engage in sexting: Explaining adolescent sexting behaviour by applying the prototype willingness model.

Michel Walrave, Koen Ponnet, Joris Van Ouytsel, Ellen Van Gool, Wannes Heirman, Anouk Verbeek


Sexting has received increasing scholarly and media attention. Especially, minors’ engagement in this behaviour is a source of concern. As adolescents are highly sensitive about their image among peers and prone to peer influence, the present study implemented the prototype willingness model in order to assess how perceptions of peers engaging in sexting possibly influence adolescents’ willingness to send sexting messages. A survey was conducted among 217 15- to 19-year-olds. A total of 18% of respondents had engaged in sexting in the 2 months preceding the study. Analyses further revealed that the subjective norm was the strongest predictor of sexting intention, followed by behavioural willingness and attitude towards sexting. Additionally, the more favourable young people evaluated the prototype of a person engaging in sexting and the higher they assessed their similarity with this prototype, the more they were willing to send sexting messages. Differences were also found based on gender, relationship status and need for popularity.

Check the article online. More information about the study and the publication can be obtained from the authors. 

Hereafter you will find more information about recent research and publications we conducted on this topic. 

Mediawijs Online. Jongeren en sociale media

Michel Walrave and Joris Van Ouytsel co-authored a book for parents, teachers and other adults involved in the education of young people.

This book includes a review of the scientific knowledge on several online behaviours and related opportunities and risks (self-disclosure, privacy, sexting, cyberbullying, online marketing, ...). 

Each chapter ends with concrete advice for parents, teachers and young people. The book is published in Dutch. 

More information (in Dutch)?


Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., Walrave, M., & d’Haenens, L. (2017). Adolescent sexting from a social learning perspective. Telematics and Informatics, 34(1), 287-298.

Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., & Heirman, W. (2015). The association between adolescent sexting, psychosocial difficulties, and risk behavior: Integrative review. The Journal of School Nursing, 31(1), 54-69.

Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., Van Ouytsel, J., Van Gool, E., Heirman, W., & Verbeek, A. (2015). Whether or not to engage in sexting: Explaining adolescent sexting behaviour by applying the prototype willingness model. Telematics and Informatics, 32(4), 796-808.

Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2014). The associations between adolescents' consumption of pornography and music videos and their sexting behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(12), 772-778.

Van Ouytsel, J., Van Gool, E., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2014). Brief report: The association between adolescents' characteristics and engagement in sexting. Journal of Adolescence, 37(8), 1387-1391.

Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., & Van Gool, E. (2014). Sexting: Between thrill and fear - How schools can respond. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 87(5), 204-212.

Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., Heirman, W., & d'Haenens, L. (2014). Prevalentie van sexting bij Vlaamse jongeren : een verkennende studie. Tijdschrift voor orthopedagogiek, kinderpsychiatrie en klinische kinderpsychologie, 39(4), 114-126.

Walrave, M., Heirman, W., & Hallam, L. (2014). Under pressure to sext? Applying the theory of planned behaviour to adolescent sexting. Behaviour and information technology, 85-97

Walrave, M., Van Ouytsel, J. (2014). Mediawijs online : jongeren en sociale media. Leuven, LannooCampus.

Online privacy:

Walrave, M., Poels, K., Antheunis, M., van Noort, G., & Van den Broeck, E. (2016). Like or dislike? Adolescents' responses to personalized social network site advertising. Journal of Marketing Communications, 1-18. 

Van Gool, E., Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2015). To share or not to share? Adolescents self-disclosure about peer relationships on Facebook : an application of the Prototype Willingness Model. Computers in Human Behavior, 44, 230-239

Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., & Ponnet, K. (2014). How schools can help their students to strengthen their online reputations. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 87(4), 180-185

Walrave, M., Heirman, W. (2014). Jongeren 2.0 : een open boek of privacygevoelig? Tijdschrift voor Orthopedagogiek, Kinderpsychiatrie en Klinische Kinderpsychologie, 108-118.

Heirman, W., Walrave, M., & Ponnet, K. (2013). Predicting adolescents' disclosure of personal information in exchange for commercial incentives : an application of an extended theory of planned behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking,  81-87.

Heirman, W., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., & Van Gool, E. (2013). Predicting adolescents' willingness to disclose personal information to a commercial website : testing the applicability of a trust-based model. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberpspace, online.

Walrave, M., Heirman, W. (2013). Adolescents, online marketing and privacy: predicting adolescents' willingness to disclose pesonal information for marketing purposes. Children and Society, 27, 434-447

Walrave, M., Heirman, W., & Van Gool, E. (2013). Connecting and protecting? Teenagers self-disclosure and privacy in social network sites. In: Life Without Media, Comas, E., et al. (edit.), New York: Lang.

Walrave, M., Vanwesenbeeck, I., & Heirman, W. (2012). Connecting and protecting? Comparing predictors of selfdisclosure and privacy settings use between adolescents and adults. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberpspace, online.

Walrave, M., Heirman, W (2012). Disclosing or protecting? Teenagers'online self-disclosure. In: Computers, Privacy and Data Protection : An Element of Choice, Gutwirth, S. et al. (edit.), Dordrecht: Springer.

Walrave, M., Heirman, W., Jacquemin, H., Feld, J., & Coppens, F. (2011). e-Marketing & minderjarigen. FOD Economie, Observatorium van de Rechten op het Internet.

Walrave, M., Heirman, W., Jacquemin, H., Feld, J., & Coppens, F.  (2011). e-Marketing & mineurs. Bruxelles, SPF Economie, Observatoire des Droits de l'Internet.

Online marketing: 

Vanwesenbeeck, I., Walrave, M. & Ponnet, K. (2016). Children and advergames : the role of product involvement, prior brand attitude, persuasion knowledge and game attitude in purchase intentions and changing attitudes. International Journal of Advertising, 1-22. 

Vanwesenbeeck, I., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2016). Go with the flow : how children's persuasion knowledge is associated with their state of flow and emotions during advergame play. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 15(1), 38-47.

Vanwesenbeeck, I., Walrave, M. & Ponnet, K. (2016). Reclamewijsheid van Vlaamse jongeren in een sociaalnetwerkgame : vergelijkende studie tussen billboardreclame en productgebruik. Kind en Adolescent : Tijdschrift voor pedagogiek, psychiatrie en psychologie, 37(1), 38-57 

Vanwesenbeeck, I., Walrave, M. & Ponnet, K. (2016). Young adolescents and advertising on social network games : a structural equation model of perceived parental media mediation, advertising literacy, and behavioral intention. The Journal of Advertising, 45(2), 183-197.

Vanwesenbeeck, I., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2016). Young adolescents' advertising literacy and purchase intention in social network games : influence of perspective taking and need for cognition. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, early view.

Vanwesenbeeck, I., Walrave, M. & Ponnet, K. (2016). Jongeren en reclame in sociaalnetwerkgames: de invloed van ouders en school op reclamewijsheid en gedragsintenties. Tijdschrift voor communicatiewetenschap,  43(4), 392-415.

Van Ouytsel, J., Meeus, W., Walrave, M., & Driesen, A. (2014). Kinderen en jongeren kritisch leren omgaan met reclame : het aanbod en de kwaliteit van reclameopvoedingspakketten. Pedagogiek: wetenschappelijk forum voor opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming, 34(2), 123-149.

Walrave, M., Van Ouytsel, J., Zarouali, B., Ponnet, K., & Poels, K. (2015). Reclamewijsheid 2.0: Hoe kinderen en jongeren omgaan met sociale media marketing. In Sociale media anno 2015 : actuele juridische aspecten, Lievens, E. et al. (edit.), Antwerpen: Intersentia, 63-89 (meer info bij de auteurs).

Zarouali, B., Walrave, M., Poels, K., & Vanwesenbeeck, I. (2016). Online reclamewijsheid bij kinderen : herkennen en begrijpen van reclamebanners en de rol van need for cognition en reclamewijsheidslessen.  Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap, 44(1), 24-45.

Online dating, cyber dating abuse:

Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., & Temple, J. R. (2016). Digital forms of dating violence – what school nurses need to know. NASN School Nurse. Online.

Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., Walrave, M., & Temple, J. R. (2016). Adolescent cyber dating abuse victimization and its associations with substance use, and sexual behaviors. Public Health, 135, 147-151.

Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2016). Cyber Dating Abuse Victimization Among Secondary School Students From a Lifestyle-Routine Activities Theory Perspective. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 1-10

Van Ouytsel, J., Van Gool, E., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., & Peeters, E. (2016). Exploring the role of social networking sites within adolescent romantic relationships and dating experiences. Computers in Human Behavior, 55, Part A, 76-86.


Heirman, W., Walrave, M., Vandebosch, H., Wegge, D., Eggermont, S., Pabian, S. (2015). Cyberbullying research in Belgium : an overview of generated insights and a critical assessment of the mediation of technology in a web 2.0 world. Cyberbullying Across the Globe : Gender, Family, and Mental Health. Navarro, R. et al. (edit.), Berlin:  Springer (boekhoofdstuk, meer info bij de auteurs). 

Heirman, W., Angelopoulos, S., Wegge, D., Vandebosch, H., Eggermont, S., & Walrave, M. (2015). Cyberbullying-entrenched or cyberbully-free classrooms? A class network and class composition approach. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 1-18.

Heirman, W., Walrave, M. (2012). Predicting adolescent perpetration in cyberbullying : an application of the theory of planned behavior. Psicothema, 614-620.

Van Ouytsel, J., Vandebosch, H., Walrave, M., & Ponnet, K. (2014). Cyberpesten : hoeveel komt het voor en wat kunnen scholen ertegen doen? 4W : weten wat werkt en waarom : wetenschappelijk tijdschrift over opbrengsten en werking van ict in het onderwijs,  6-13.

Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., & Vandebosch, H. (2015). Correlates of cyberbullying and how school nurses can respond. NASN school nurse, 162-170. 

Walrave, M., Van Ouytsel, J. (2014). Mediawijs online : jongeren en sociale media. LannooCampus.

Veenstra S., Vandebosch, H., & Walrave, M. (2012). Cyberbullying : defining, understanding and intervening. Cyber safety : an introduction / Leukfeldt, E.R. [edit.] The Hague: Eleven International Publishing.

Walrave, M., Heirman, W. (2011). Cyberbullying : predicting victimisation and perpetration. Children and Society, 59-72. 

Walrave, M., Heirman, W. (2010). Towards understanding the potential triggering features of technology. Truths and myths of cyber-bullying. International perspectives on stakholder responsibility and children's safety,  Shariff, S. et al. (edit.), New York: Lang. 

Walrave, M., Demoulin, M., Heirman, W., van de Perre, A. (2009). Cyberharcèlement: risque du virtuel, impact dans le réel, Bruxelles, SPF Economie. Observatoire des Droits de l'Internet.

Walrave, M., Demoulin, M., Heirman, W., van de Perre, A. (2009). Cyberpesten: pesten in bits and bytes. Brussel, FOD Economie. Observatorium van de Rechten op Internet.


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