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Trends in Youth Internet Victimization: Findings From Three Youth Internet Safety Surveys 2000-2010

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: 2011 Pages: 1-8
Lisa M. Jones, Ph.D.; Kimberly J. Mitchell, Ph.D.; David Finkelhor, Ph.D.
Date Published
8 pages
This study examined the trends in youth reports of unwanted online sexual solicitation, harassment, and exposure to pornography over time.
Based on three separate cross-sectional national telephone surveys of approximately 1,500 youth (ages 10-17) who used the Internet, 9 percent reported an unwanted sexual solicitation in 2010. This continued the decline in unwanted sexual solicitations that occurred between 2000 (19 percent) and 2005 (13 percent). This resulted in a 50-percent decrease between 2000 and 2010. An unwanted exposure to pornography was reported by 23 percent of responding youth, a decline from 34 percent in 2005 following an increase between 2000 and 2005 (25 percent to 34 percent). In the only trend with an increase over the past 5 years, 11 percent of youth reported an online harassment experience, an increase from 9 percent in 2005 and 6 percent in 2000. Differences in these trends were found for subgroups of youth across age, gender, and race. The trends in unwanted experiences online over the past decade identified by these three Youth Internet Safety Surveys may contradict impressions that the general population, professionals, and the media have about what is happening in the experiences of youth while using the Internet. The trends identified by the survey provide evidence for some optimism that proactive adaptations to the online environment have been successful. On the other hand, online harassment is apparently increasing for youth, particularly girls. This may require additional efforts that target this type of victimization of youth via online contact. A survey was conducted in each of the years 2000, 2005, and 2010. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 21 references