Here are some of the results described in “Online Social Networking Patterns Among Adolescents, Young Adults, and Sexual Offenders,” an original research article published in the July issue of AJN:
nearly two-thirds of Internet offenders said they’d initiated the topic of sex in their first chat session; more than half . . . disguised their identity when online; most . . . preferred communicating with teenage girls rather than teenage boys; high school students’ experience with “sexting” . . . differed significantly according to their sex; a small number of students are being threatened and assaulted by people they meet online; avatar sites such as Second Life were used both by students and offenders . . . .
What’s your own experience? Have a look at the article, and pass along the link if you find it useful, as a parent or nurse. Have you heard any concerns about Internet safety from parents or adolescents you encounter in your own practice or community? What’s your own take on Facebook and privacy, or any other issue raised in this article?—JM, senior editor