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Don’t Freak Out!!! Part XLVI

June 25th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you are the type to worry about how your child uses the Internet, then you must read this. It’s a draft of “Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review,” by two Harvard researchers, and it’s chock-full of reasons NOT to freak out over sexual predators on the Internet. A sampling of the results:

  • • The percentage of youth reporting dangerous offline contact as a result of online encounters is low, and Internet-initiated sexual assaults are rare.
  • • ISTTF: Wolak et al. 2004, 2006- In YISS-1 and YISS-2, between 0 and 2 out of 1500 youth surveyed reported online encounters that resulted in offline sexual contact.
  • • Most youth report ignoring unwanted online solicitations, with 64-75% reporting no psychological harm or distress.
  • • The overall number of cases of sexual assault reported per year has steadily decreased since 1992, suggesting that the total number of cases of sexual assault against youth has not increased due to the Internet.
  • • The percentage of youth reporting solicitation and harassment on social network sites (SNSs) is comparable to solicitation rates across all media. Social network sites do not appear to promote sexual solicitation to a greater extent than other forms of Internet communication.

I could go on, but it’s worth reading the report on its own. It’s a reassuring reminder that kids aren’t as dumb as we think they are. Happy Friday!

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