January 14, 2009

ARTICLES / RESEARCH / INTERNET: Internet threat to minors overblown, study suggests

Internet threat to minors overblown, study suggests

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Worries that the Internet and social networking services like MySpace pose a threat to child safety may be overblown, a report by industry, academics and technology experts suggests.

The report, which will be released on Wednesday, suggests that the biggest threats to children's safety online may come from other children, and that their own behavior could contribute to the trouble they encounter.

"Minors are not equally at risk online," the report said. "Those who are most at risk often engage in risky behaviors and have difficulties in other parts of their lives."
It is the product of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, created last February by 49 state attorneys general to address what many of them said was the growing problem of sexual predators soliciting children online.

"The risks minors face online are complex and multifaceted and are in most cases not significantly different than those they face offline, and ... as they get older, minors themselves contribute to some of the problems," the study said.

full article

Berkman Center for Internet & Society website

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