Are blogs putting youth at risk for online sexual solicitation or harassment?
Objective: In light of public concern about the dangers to young people from maintaining online journals or "blogs," this exploratory paper examines whether bloggers are at increased risk for online sexual solicitation or harassment. Method: A national telephone survey of 1,500 youth Internet users, ages 10-17, conducted between March and June 2005. Results: Sixteen percent of youth Internet users reported blogging in the past year. Teenagers and girls were the most common bloggers, and bloggers were more likely than other youth to post personal information online. However, bloggers were not more likely to interact with people they met online and did not know in person. Youth who interacted with people they met online, regardless of whether (AOR = 2.42, p < .01) or not (AOR = 2.36, p < .001) they blogged, had higher odds of receiving online sexual solicitations. Bloggers who did not interact with people they met online were at no increased risk for sexual solicitation (AOR = 1.41, ns). Moreover, posting personal information did not add to risk. However, youthful bloggers were at increased risk for online harassment, regardless of whether they also interacted with others online (AOR = 2.65, p < .01) or not (AOR = 2.55, p < .01). Conclusion: Prevention messages about blogging need to directly address the risks of interacting with people youth meet online and the risk of online harassment.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Mitchell, K.J., Wolak, J., Finkelhor, D. Are blogs putting youth at risk for online sexual solicitation or harassment? (2008) Child Abuse and Neglect, 32 (2), pp. 277-294.
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