ABSTRACT: Almost half of youth in the U.S. report receiving internet safety education (ISE) in their schools. Unfortunately, we know little about what educational messages make a difference in problems such as cyberbullying, sexting, or online predators. To consider directions for improving effectiveness, a content analysis was conducted on materials from four ISE programs. Results indicate that ISE programs are mostly not incorporating proven educational strategies. Common ISE messages have proliferated without a clear rationale for why they would be effective. It is recommended that program developers and other stakeholders reconsider ISE messages, improve educational strategies, and participate in evaluation. The field must also consider whether ISE messages would be better delivered through broader youth safety prevention programs versus stand-alone lessons.
Crimes against Children Research Center
Jones, L.M., Mitchell, Kimberly J., & Walsh, W.A. (2014). A Content Analysis of Youth Internet Safety Programs: Are Effective Prevention Strategies Being Used? Durham, NH: Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC), University of New Hampshire.