For 1 in 3 teen girls, online meetings lead to offline encounters

Study of 251 girls aged 14 to 17 also shows that adolescents abused or neglected are more likely to present themselves online in a sexual way.

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Nearly one in three adolescent girls aged 14 to 17 say they have had a relationship that began online in the real world, according to new research from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center Medical.
The survey of 251 teenage girls found that 30 percent of them came forward and met offline with people who had initially met online – and without confirming those people were who they said they.
Not all meetings be dangerous, of course, but Jennie Noll, author of the study, has discovered a disturbing trend among girls who are surveyed. People with a history of neglect or abuse (about half of the girls surveyed) were more likely to show their characters online in a sexually provocative.
“These meetings may have been benign, but for a teenage girl to do this is dangerous,” says Noll, a psychologist at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati. The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Noll – whose study is part of a wider investigation of behavior of high-risk Internet and is funded by a five-year, $ 3.7 million federal grant – adds that she has been privy to some pretty “scary” stories during the course of their work.
“One patient told a story about a guy who started texting her a lot, and seemed” very nice. “So she agreed to meet him at the mall, got in his car, he was driving somewhere and raped her.”
Noll also reports that while parental supervision helped lower the association between risk factors of adolescents (eg, a history of abuse) and online behaviors (like posting provocative photos), no Internet filtering software. In other words, a little disconnected parenting seems to be the most effective approach.

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