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Research Shows the Internet May be Getting Safer for Kids

The research, a December, 2011 Study by the University of New Hampshire, says that Unwanted Online Sexual Exposures Decline for Youth, New UNH Research Finds.  Some of the important bits:

The study found that the percentage of youth receiving unwanted online sexual requests declined from 13 percent in 2005 to 9 percent in 2010. Youth experiencing unwanted pornography exposure declined from 34 percent to 23 percent over the same period.

On the other hand, youth reports of online harassment increased slightly from 2005, up from 9 percent to 11 percent.

The study, “Trends in Youth Internet Victimization: Findings From Three Youth Internet Safety Surveys 2000-2010,” was recently published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. It is based on national surveys of youth ages 10 through 17 conducted in 2000, 2005, and 2010.

“The constant news about Internet dangers may give the impression that all Internet problems have been getting worse for youth but actually that is not the case,” said lead author Lisa Jones, research associate professor of psychology at the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center. “The online environment may be improving.”

She Also mentions a couple other good points.

  1. The drops in rates, including “unwanted sexual solicitations are down more than 50 percent since 2000” seem to have a lot to do with the attention being given to this problem and the solutions being presented via technology and awareness.
  2. That unwanted sexual solicitation online are believed to not come from adults only, but potentially half of them are from other youth.
  3. That while online harassment is rising slightly, it seems to be because it’s a problem that was slow to be identified and brought to attention.

Overall, good news!

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