A new Cincinnati Children's Hospital survey finds one-third of teen girls actually have an in-person meeting with somebody they met online.
Psychologist Jennie Noll says abused or neglected teenage girls are more likely to present themselves in a more sexually provocative way online and therefore have more offline meetings. Noll studied the Internet and social media habits of 250 girls. About half were abused. She followed up a year later. Noll says the meeting part is scary for this age even though plenty of adults do it.
"Think about when you go on Craig's List or you are trying to buy something offline, you agree and you go and meet someone offline and it turns out to be quite a legitimate interaction. However, for an adolescent female, for a girl, who first met someone in a social networking atmosphere who agreed to meet that person offline without really knowing who they are, I think most would agree that the danger potential is high."
Noll says Internet filtering software at home doesn't really have an effect in discouraging this behavior but high quality parenting and monitoring does. The Cincinnati Children's Hospital researcher's work is published in today's eFirst pages of the journal Pediatrics.