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Content Analysis of Youth Internet Safety Programs: Are Effective Prevention Strategies Being Used?

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2014
17 pages
This study conducted a content analysis of materials being used in four school internet safety education (ISE) programs, in order to identify ways to improve the effectiveness of such programs.
The findings indicate that most ISE programs are not incorporating proven educational strategies based on research that has examined outcomes for youth education programs that have focused on a variety of safety issues confronting children and youth. Common ISE messages have proliferated without a clear rationale for their design based on proven education techniques that have enabled youth to retain knowledge central to their safety and change behaviors that increase their risk for harm. This study recommends that program developers and other stakeholders reconsider ISE messages, improve educational strategies, and participate in evaluations of current programs. The ISE field should also consider whether ISE messages would be more effective if delivered through broader youth safety prevention programs rather than through lessons that focus only on specific internet safety issues, such as cyber-bullying, sexting, or online predators. Tables show ISE materials reviewed by content evaluation, a checklist for effective prevention education elements for ISE materials, and key educational messages of reviewed ISE materials. 4 tables and 67 references

Date Published: December 1, 2014