Girls are more at risk online

Girls are more at risk online

One in five adolescents has already been a victim of bullying over the Internet, concludes a study from Kingston University (London), now released.

According to the data presented, the highest percentage of young people who were victims of threats and acts of violence practiced by colleagues using new technologies is registered among girls (28%). Among boys, the incidence drops to 13 percent, but they are also the group that is least likely to respond to situations of abuse.

London University’s analysis of young people’s online behavior – one of the largest ever conducted in England – also shows that a large percentage of children adopt high-risk behaviors when using the Internet, including sharing information with unknown.

Officials surveyed 1,700 young people aged 11 to 16, to understand their level of knowledge about safety practices online. Julia Davidson, who conducted the study, says the results are worrying and hopes that they will alert parents, children and policymakers to the dangers of the Internet, warning that «a significant number of young people adopt behaviors that an adult would consider dangerous», among which includes sharing photos and personal data online.

Girls are considered to be a higher risk group because they make more use of social media, such as social networks, Instant Messaging (chat) services and were more likely to share personal information with strangers.

The expert – who warns of the need to «better understand» teenagers’ online behavior in order to find more effective security policies and practices – explains that this type of attitude is often seen as normal among young people.

More than a third of respondents say they have told their age and email address to people they met online, and one in five provided their full name, the name of the school they attend and pictures of themselves. A significant number also say that they do not intend to change their conduct.