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Online Victims: Internet behaviors make targets of some kids

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11:59am, February 7, 2007

About one in five youngsters reports encountering at least one instance of unwanted sexual solicitation or harassment online in the past year, a national telephone survey finds. Internet-safety programs that typically urge children to avoid posting personal information online ignore other behaviors that the new results suggest lead to such victimization.

Sharing one's name, contact information, and other personal data on the Internet didn't increase the chances of experiencing online victimization, according to a team led by psychologist Michele L. Ybarra of Internet Solutions for Kids, a nonprofit research organization in Irvine, Calif. Among 1,497 children and teenagers interviewed, 831 acknowledged having disclosed personal information online, the researchers say. Furthermore, one in three children reported having online friends who had never been met in person.

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