A new study highlights the risk that female teenagers face when they go online – a risk heightened for teen girls who have been victims of abuse or neglect.
The study, published in the eFirst pages of the journal Pediatrics, shows that 30 percent of teenagers reported having offline meetings with people they have met on the Internet and whose identity had not been fully confirmed prior to the meeting.
"These meetings may have been benign, but for an adolescent girl to do it is dangerous," says Jennie Noll, PhD, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the study's lead author.
Moreover, abused or neglected teenage girls were more likely to present themselves online in a sexually provocative way than other teenage girls. Research shows that high-risk, online profiles are more likely to lead to offline meetings, according to Dr. Noll, director of research in behavioral medicine and clinical psychology at Cincinnati Children's.
"If someone is looking for a vulnerable teen to start an online sexual discourse, they will more likely target someone who presents herself provocatively," she says. "Maltreatment poses a unique risk for online behavior that may set the stage for harm."
Dr. Noll and her colleagues studied 251 adolescent girls between the ages of 14 and 17. About half were victims of abuse or neglect.
If families installed Internet filtering software at home, it made no difference in the association between maltreatment and high-risk Internet behaviors, says Dr. Noll. These behaviors included intentionally seeking adult content, provocative self-presentations on social networking sites and receiving sexual advances online. On the other hand, "high quality parenting" and parental monitoring helped reduce the association between adolescent risk factors and these online behaviors, she saysl.
The new study is part of a larger body of Dr. Noll's work on high-risk Internet behaviors. In a previous, pilot study, she asked girls whether they have ever met anyone offline after meeting them online and heard some "chilling" stories," she says.
"One patient told a story about a guy who started texting her a lot, and he seemed 'really nice.' So she agreed to meet him at the mall, she got in his car, they drove somewhere and he raped her."
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Crowdsourced loans and peer-to-peer lending are cutting banks out of the mortgage market – and this is just the start
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has a jarring prediction for the future of the Internet.
It may be following a strategy that doesn't necessarily hinge on making money directly from wireless service
Cities like Boston are slurping up data from private companies about how we live – and using it to improve services and transport
The police killings of several unarmed black men in recent months have sparked protests nationwide demanding justice, heightening tensions between police departments and communities. In one narrative, these deaths represent a pattern of racist police officers using unnecessary lethal force against black communities.
Japanese scientist Tomotaka Takahashi programmed 100 miniature Robi robots to dance in sync. The robots are about one foot tall and weigh just over two pounds.
The teen is too young to be the legal CEO of his own firm, Braigo, which has received funding from Intel Capital
Police are reportedly using a device allows them to detect the presence of people inside buildings without having to enter
A plane powered by the sun will attempt an unprecedented flight around the world next month, the project's founders said, seeking to prove that flying is possible without using fossil fuel.
Researchers want to replace physical traffic lights with virtual traffic lights on a car's windshield.