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.
Apple, Google say even they can't break their new encryption technology that locks law enforcement out of smartphones
New high-tech "Air Umbrellas" are innovative in concept, but prototypes have a long way to go
A lecture on the depiction of women in video games was cancelled at Utah State University after the school received threats of a mass shooting. Jericka Duncan reports on a controversy that started online and has now moved to the real world.
Will voice biometrics replace fingerprints and passwords to ID people by sound?
How do you make a better snake robot? You study snakes, of course.
CEO Elon Musk took to the stage for a dramatic unveiling, announcing slew of groundbreaking features on his Model S cars
The Grand Challenge is a new tradition in the world of public health: asking anyone (and everyone) to come up with innovations. The latest assignment: design cooler protective gear for Ebola teams.
If you're a science and tech history geek with mad stacks waiting to be spent, you've come to the right place. If you fit that description minus the mad stacks, start buying lottery tickets, because the upcoming History of Science auction at Bonhams New York is full of stuff you want.
A new study from AAA is raising concerns about the modern technology in our cars and examined the level of distractions drivers face using hands-free features
There may be plenty of idiots on the road, but is putting them in the skies taking it, quite literally, to the next dimension?