Youth, Sex & the Internet: What practitioners need to know


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  • The first YISS was prompted by a number of factors – the enormous growth of the Internet in the 1999’s and the fact that children and adolescents were flocking to the Internet. Concerns about sex offenders using the Internet to target victims. Concern about the amount of pornography online and questions about whether kids were being exposed to sexually explicit material. But also HOW they were being exposed, with some people saying kids had to go out and find it while others said that, no, pornography is finding the kids. Also reports of people using the internet to threaten and scare and harass kids. It was in response to these concerns that the National Center funded the first YISS.
    Remember that we measured kids’ experiences with 3 types of unwanted online incidents: Sexual solicitations, unwanted exposures to pornography and online harassment.
    The new survey shows that there have been a number of changes in these problems in the past 5 years – changes in the numbers of kids reporting these types of incidents and changes in their characteristics. It also shows some new problems emerging.
  • The interviews for the first survey were done a over 5 years ago – almost 6 years ago.
    We conducted this survey the same way we conducted the first one. Before each survey, we held focus groups so we could find out what kids were says about the internet. In both surveys, we inter
    viewed 1500 youth Internet users, ages 10 – 17, randomly selected from US HHs. (We interviewed different kids in each survey.)
    INTERNET USERS -- once a month for the past 6 months, at home, school or any other place.
    In each survey, we asked about things that happened IN THE PAST YEAR.
    In measuring the 3 types of Internet problems – sexual solicitations, exposure to porn and online harassment, we asked the questions the same way in both surveys. Because we used the same methods to do the survey and asked the same questions, we can compare numbers to see what has changed since the first survey.
  • These were both nationally representative samples of youth Internet users ages 10 – 17.
  • All statistics have margins of error, as you know from hearing about political polls. This means that when numbers between the first and second surveys go up or down, some of the changes happen by chance instead of reflecting real increases or decreases. We have used statistical tests to tell us whether changes are significant – meaning real and not due to chance.
  • Remember that sexual solicitations and approaches can cover a variety of events from fairly mild incidents – like an IM asking a girl’s bra size – to serious incidents like an adult trying to meet an underage girl in person for sex. There is good news and bad news about sexual solicitations.
  • The good news is that fewer youth reported unwanted sexual solicitations or approaches. Sexual solicitations declined by almost one third since the first survey.
    Moreover, there are reasons to believe that at least some of this reduction is due to youth being more cautious about interacting with strangers online.
  • Fewer youth had communicated online with strangers in the past year. The # of youth that used the Internet to chat, e-mail or exchange Instant Messages with strangers decreased by 6%. The # that said they had formed close friendships with people they met online declined almost one third.
  • Chatroom use in the past year was almost cut in half. (And this is where a lot of solicitations occurred in 2000).
  • In the focus groups we did with kids last winter, before we did the survey, we were impressed with how aware kids were of dangers like Internet predators. Many f young people talked about chatrooms as unpleasant places with unsavory people. They were very aware of sleazy adults using the Internet to get to know kids for sexual reasons.
  • Remember that many of the sexual solicitations were fairly mild events. But we defined a group that were more dangerous. These were the solicitations that threatened to spill over into real life. And this is where the bad news comes in.
  • While fewer kids were getting solicited, the number of kids getting the aggressive solicitations – the ones most likely to evolve into crimes – did not decline.
  • We also defined a group of solicitations that were particularly disturbing to youth.
  • We did NOT find that more kids were brushing off these incidents. Even with fewer incidents, the number of kids who were very or extremely frightened or upset by what happened stayed the same.
  • In YISS-2, over one-third of youth (34%, n = 512) had at least one unwanted exposure to pornography in the last year, a considerable increase over the one-quarter of youth (25%, n = 376) that reported unwanted exposures in YISS-1.
    This is a very dramatic increase. 1 in 3 youth.
  • Exposure incidents that were very or extremely upsetting to youth – distressing exposures – also increased. While 3% may not seem like much, it is an increase of 50%.
  • The Internet was more available to kids.
    Using Internet in 3+ places is significantly different.
    Home 91%, School 90%, Friend’s Home 69%, Cell phone 17%, Other Place (includes library) 43%
  • The Internet was more incorporated into kids lives.
    Past Week 86%
    More than 2 Hours 23%
    5 to 7 Days49%
  • Spyware and adware are included in many online games and music files. (
  • 5 years ago, many computers didn’t have enough memory to store images and were too slow for downloading.
  • Online harassment has gotten increased attention in the five years since the first Youth Internet Safety Survey. Stories about people using the Internet to threaten, embarrass or humiliate youth have been widely reported in the media. Some of this behavior involves threats to assault or harm youth, their friends, family, or property. Some involves efforts to embarrass or humiliate youth, including spreading rumors about sexual activity.
  • While this increase is not statistically significant, it comes close to significance. And we believe this is an actual increase.
  • For one thing, the number of youth admitting to rudeness more than doubled and the number who said they harassed other people increased by 900%. – and we know that being rude or harassing others is highly related to being harassed.
  • Also, outside of the data, we have some other ideas about why harassment has increased.
  • Sexual solicitations encompassed a variety of incidents. Some were quite mild. For example, a teenage girl getting an IM asking for her bra size. Some were more serious. Some kids were hit with very intrusive questions or graphic descriptions of sexual activity. Some solicitors tried to contact youth offline or to arrange meetings.
  • As in the first survey, YISS-2 assessed the problem of sexual exploitation by asking youth four kinds of questions, the results of which were aggregated under the category of sexual solicitations and approaches. The four kinds of questions were about
    Sexual approaches made to them in the past year – situations where someone on the Internet attempted to get them to talk about sex when they did not want to or asked them unwanted intimate questions
    Sexual solicitations they had received in the last year from persons over the Internet who had asked them to do sexual things they did not want to do
    Close friendships they had formed with adults they had met over the Internet including whether these had involved sexual overtures
    Invitations from Internet sources to help them run away, a ploy apparently favored by some individuals looking for vulnerable youth
  • 81% of youth who were solicited were ages 14-17, 66% were 15, 16 or 17.
    In spite of the growth in Internet use, we are still not seeing solicitations of younger kids. These incidents are not creeping down into the group of younger kids who are online, but remain a phenomenon of adolescent Internet use.
  • Could reflect a greater awareness of existence of adult solicitors
    As in YISS-1, many of the YISS-2 solicitors did not match the stereotype of the older male “Internet predator”. Many were identified as other youth and some were female. At the same time, youth readily admitted they were not certain of the ages of solicitors they met online.+ Eighty-seven percent of youth whose contact with perpetrators was limited to the Internet said they were not at all or only somewhat certain of the solicitor’s age.
    + We did not ask about this in YISS-1.
  • But most youth were quick to admit they didn’t really know how old the solicitors were.
  • An important difference between the second and first surveys is the decrease in solicitors that were strangers youth met online and the increase in those who were personally known to youth. In YISS-1, virtually all perpetrators (97%) were persons youth met online. In YISS-2, youth met 86% of perpetrators online, but 14% were personal acquaintances – people youth knew personally before the solicitation.
    Consistent with finding that fewer youth were talking online to strangers and more were talking to friends and acquaintances.
  • In both the second and first surveys, youth were asked to describe the sexual solicitations they described as unwanted. In YISS-2, as in YISS-1, many of the solicitations started with personal questions about a youth’s appearance and sexual experience. Many youth received propositions for “cybersex” – live chat or Instant Message sessions where participants engage in explicit sexual talk and sometimes disrobe and masturbate.
  • One third of the incidents were aggressive in at least one of these ways.
  • In YISS-1, none of the solicited youth were sexually assaulted as a result of an online sexual solicitation. This was not true in YISS-2, 2 online solicitations led to sexual assaults.
    Two youth were assaulted (< 1%), both girls, ages 15 and 16. [Check this.]
  • We also found a new dimension to sexual solicitations. A considerable number of solicitors asked youth for sexual pictures of themselves. We did not ask about this in the first survey – the main reason being that youth did not bring this up during the focus groups we did back in 1999. Many of the kids we talked to in the most recent focus groups told us about being asked to take sexual pictures of themselves.
  • He never met her in person. The relationship was over. She made him a little uncomfortable because “she said some freaky stuff.”
    His parents had installed software to prevent him from using chatrooms because they found out he was talking to women overseas . [#53014]
  • Most youth handled solicitations by themselves.
  • But a quarter of the youth who were solicited had symptoms stress after.
  • People remain concerned about young people forming relationships with older people they meet online who might exploit or take advantage of them. But don’t jump to conclusions about these relationships. As in the first survey, most seemed benign.
    (Close friendship was defined as a relationship with “someone you could talk to online about things that were real important to you.”) Similar to the first survey, most of the youth who reported close online friendships were ages 15 through 17 (65% in YISS-2 and 60% in YISS-1).
  • Online relationships with people 5 or more years older. One source of sexual solicitations that has received much attention in the media is older “Internet predators” that use the Internet to meet and develop close friendships or romances with youth and then sexually solicit them. To assess this, we asked youth questions about online relationships with people who were 5 or more years older. Most such incidents seemed benign, however 7 youth told interviewers about relationships with older people that included sexual elements, including the older person asking the youth for sexually explicit photographs of themselves, sending the youth sexually explicit photographs, having some degree of sexual physical contact with the youth or acting in some other way that showed a sexual interest in the youth. These cases were counted as solicitations because of age differences between the youth and older person, whether or not a youth was disturbed by the sexual element in the relationship.
  • For example…
  • Discuss finding out private information. Some could be attributable to spyware installed secretly.
    In YISS-1, none of the solicited youth were sexually assaulted as a result of an online sexual solicitation. This was not true in YISS-2, although the number of youth who were assaulted was small. Two youth were assaulted (< 1%), both girls, ages 15 and 16. [Check this.]
  • First YISS confirmed that many youth see sexual material they do not want to see when they go online. Our new data shows this has increased over the past 5 years.
  • -Similar numbers of boys and girls reported unwanted exposure (slightly more girls this time around)
    -Few exposure occurred to youth under the age of 13. But we did find an increase from last time (8% versus 5%)
  • Most incidents happened while youth were surfing the web (n = 444). Over one-third of incidents happened when youth were doing online searches (40%), while others occurred while youth were clicking on links in websites (17%), pop-up ads (14%), and from misspelled Web addresses (12%).
  • It’s possible that home computers have less protection and security than computers at schools and libraries.
  • A lot of youth saw more than just pictures of naked people but over half of incidents involved images that were more sexually explicit.
  • We did not specifically ask if youth saw child pornography because we did not believe youth could reliably assess the ages of the people shown in photographs. However, two boys specifically mentioned seeing child pornography. An 11-year-old boy said he saw pictures of “naked men with young boys” while he was doing an online search from a computer in the living room of his home. A 17-year-old boy was looking for video games online from a computer in his bedroom. He said, “I clicked on a link and I did not know what it was. It took me to an underage porn site, which is illegal…I know you’re not allowed to go to those. It was disguised as a different link.” Neither boy told anyone what happened.
  • We asked youth open-ended questions about why they thought specific instances of unwanted exposure happened. Many of the youth seemed to view the Internet as strewn with pornography that could only be avoided with vigilance. These youth seemed to attribute their exposures to letting their guard down. In other words, some youth appeared to be blaming themselves for the unwanted exposures.
  • Some youth had more sophisticated views of how pornography was being marketed on the Internet.
  • Some there were some other youth who were aware that people were trying to take advantage of them.
  • Overall, youth named a wide range of topics as subjects of web searches that brought up unwanted sexual material. Virtually all of these topics seemed quite appropriate. It is easy to conclude that the operators of pornography websites are making deliberate attempts to lure youth to them – or that pornography is so pervasive almost any kind of search will dredge it up.
  • Most youth were unaffected by their unwanted exposures but in 19% of incidents youth reported one or more symptoms of stress.
  • We saw these increases in the numbers of youth exposed to pornography despite an increase in parental reports of home filtering and blocking software use.
    When we asked, youth reported even more use of filtering and blocking software (81%), although most of the differences were due to the use of pop-up and SPAM blockers reported by youth. Not taking those into account, reports of filter use were similar for both parents and youth. So it appears the kids themselves are putting these pop-up and SPAM blockers on their computers.
  • Next I’m going to talk about some more details of the harassment incidents. It’s concerning that these situations continue to be a almost neglected aspect of Internet prevention. Especially since they appear to be particularly distressing for youth.
  • Did see an increase in overall harassment.
  • -Targets were both girls and boys. (girls were more likely than boys to report distressing harassments – 68% vs. 32%).
    -Most of the targets were teenagers ages 14 and older which is interesting given that the age conventional bullying tends to peak is younger.
  • -Almost half of harassers were offline friends or acquaintances of the youth.
    -Half of harassers were male but in 21% of episodes the youth did not know age
    -Over half of harassers were under the age of 18, only 2% were age 25 or older. However, in 19% of incidents, the gender of the harasser was unknown.
  • Most incidents happened on a home computer and primarily took the form of Instant Messages.
  • About 1/3rd of these youth reported one or more symptoms of stress which is a higher percentage than both solicitation and exposure incidents.
  • Harassment still doesn’t occur as frequently as sexual solicitation or unwanted exposure to sexual material, but it is encountered by an increasing number of youth and it often may have more impact on youth, especially when it occurs among friends and schoolmates.
  • Harassment still doesn’t occur as frequently as sexual solicitation or unwanted exposure to sexual material, but it is encountered by an increasing number of youth and it often may have more impact on youth, especially when it occurs among friends and schoolmates.
  • Another area this study has enabled us to explore is whether our efforts to get prevention messages to kids is working.
  • Parents said they were really concerned about their children being exposed to sexually explicit situations on the Internet. This hasn’t increased but it was already really high in 2000. It’s possible, though, that parents were exaggerating due to their desire to appear to us as good parents.
  • This is supported by the finding that fewer children, but still a considerable number, acknowledged hearing these types of prevention messages from a parent or teacher.
  • We also found that a significant number of youth had been to a presentation about Internet safety given by law enforcement.
  • -Not a terribly encouraging picture in regards to people’s knowledge about where to report incidents. Fewer youth knew of places to report. Parents knowledge seemed to increase but when pressed, few could come up with an actual name.
  • The CyberTipline is still not well known among both parents and youth. We say no change in parent knowledge and an increase in youth knowledge, though 5% of youth is still extremely small.
  • There does seem to be some more awareness among youth who have attended an Internet safety program given by law enforcement. They were more likely to know of places to report incidents and aware of the CyberTipline. But these numbers are still far from where we’d like them to be.
  • In both 2000 and 2005 – youth reporting harassment incidents were more likely to tell someone about the incident – which is an indication that these episodes were particularly disturbing the youth experiencing them.
  • As you can see, few youth are telling parents about what happened.
  • Authorities include police, ISP, or schools. And as you can see, practically no youth are reporting incidents to authorities.
  • We asked youth who did not disclose incidents why they did not tell. Most youth who did not disclose incidents considered them not serious enough. They said: “I didn’t think it was a big deal. I handled it responsibly.” “[I was] barely on the site for thirty seconds.” “It was just a random thing.” Others who did not tell (65/282) said they were afraid or thought they would get in trouble or loose their access to the Internet if they told.
  • We’ve just finished talking about how some young people are the targets of Internet victimization. Now, I’d like to transition to the topic of risky behaviors online. As with any environment, we see young people online engaging in risky or externalizing behaviors.
  • In both surveys, we looked at several kinds of risky behaviors, meaning behaviors that might increase the chances that a youth would experience unwanted sexual solicitations, exposure to pornography or harassment. We asked about: [slide]
  • In YISS-2, there was a large increase in the number of youth who posted personal information and pictures online. Thirty-four percent had posted their real names, telephone numbers, home addresses or the names of their schools online where anyone could see; and 18% had posted pictures of themselves. In contrast, in YISS-1 only 11% of youth had posted any such personal information and only 5% had posted pictures. These increases may be at least partly related to the popularity among adolescents of blogs, online journals and profiles, which allow youth to create elaborate websites about their lives. These types of websites were not part a part of youth culture when the first survey was conducted.
  • In 2005 there was an increase in the numbers of youth going to X-rated sites on purpose. In 2000, we were concerned that youth were not telling us about going to these sites voluntarily so we added some more context to the question. Still, we found fewer youth going to these sites on purpose than the numbers of youth being exposed involuntarily. It possible that youth are so inundated by this material on an involuntary basis, that any curiosity about the material has been fulfilled.
    Not surprisingly, most of these youth were older boys. And almost half were with friends when they went to these sites.
  • We asked youth how they found out about the sites they went to. Most youth said they went to a site because another kid told them about it.
  • We say something of a decline in report of youth talking about sex online with strangers, although this is not reach significance. This is consistent with our finding that fewer youth were talking with strangers online.
    About half of these youth were girls and the majority were age 14 or older. Almost half were with friends when engaging in this behavior.
  • While risky behavior of a sexual nature did not show increases in 2005, we found large increases in the number of youth who admitted to behaving rudely online and to harassing others and who were harassing or embarrassing others they were mad.
    About half of these youth were girls and most were 14 or older. Almost half were with friends when they engaged in this behavior.
  • Much of the prevention messages we currently provide youth assume that youth are alone when they either engage in risky behavior or have unwanted experiences. Yet, we were interested in whether this was actually the case. We found that many of the unwanted experiences (ranging from 29% of exposure incidents to 41% of solicitation incidents) and around 45% of risky behavior occurred when youth were using the Internet in the physical presence of their friends. Although this is a finding that needs to be explored further, we may need to adjust some of our prevention messages to include youth who are not alone when they are using the Internet.
  • In addressing the teens who are vulnerable to sexual solicitations, it is not sufficient or likely to be successful to simply emphasize the danger of assault, abduction and rape. Our research has identified the great vulnerability of teens to the romantic fantasies that internet relationships can engender. We think prevention messages about this problem needs to remind teens that these relationships are illegal, likely to get themselves and their partners in serious trouble, that they are doomed to failure and disappointment if not worse, are usually more about sex than love.
  • Arousal can make them vulnerable to solicitors – to manipulation, being used, clouded judgment
    [Boys may have different issues – what are they?]
  • Youth, Sex & the Internet: What practitioners need to know

    1. 1. San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, January 23-27 2006, San Diego, CA Youth, Sex & the Internet: What Practitioners Need to Know Janis Wolak Kimberly Mitchell David Finkelhor Crimes against Children Research Center University of New Hampshire & Michele Ybarra Center for Innovative Public Health Research Funded by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and US Department of Justice, OJJDP * Thank you for your interest in this presentation. Please note that analyses included herein are preliminary. More recent, finalized analyses may be available by contacting the Crimes against Children Research Center or CiPHR for further information. 1
    2. 2. How YISS-1 & YISS-2 Were Conducted • Telephone surveys of national samples of 1,500 young people, ages 10 through 17, who were Internet users • Short parent interviews & 30 minute youth interviews, with parental consent • Youth participants received $10 checks and information about Internet safety • Care taken to preserve youth privacy and confidentiality during both surveys • YISS-1 interviews: Autumn 1999 to February 2000 • YISS-2 interviews: March to June 2005 2
    3. 3. Who We Interviewed In both surveys, the 1500 youth were  About half boys & half girls  About one-third ages 10-13 and two-thirds ages 14-17  Mirrored the US population in race & ethnicity, but • Somewhat fewer African-Americans & Hispanics 3
    4. 4. How Online Victimization Has Changed in the Past 5 Years What is a change? • Statistically significant changes 4
    5. 5. Sexual Solicitations & Approaches DEFINITION: Online requests • To engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or • Give personal sexual information That were • Unwanted, or • Made by a person 5 or more years older (whether wanted or not) 5
    6. 6. YISS-2 shows a decline in unwanted sexual solicitations and approaches. • 1 in 7 youth Internet users (13%)  1 in 5 (19%) five years ago % regular Internet users 50 45 40 35 30 25 19% -6% 13% 20 15 10 5 0 2000 Any Solicitation 2005 6
    7. 7. Why the decrease? Less Communication with People Met Online 100 % Internet-using youth 90 80 70 60 50 40% 40 -6% 34% 30 16% 20 -5% 11% 10 0 2000 2005 Talked to people met online 2000 Close online relationships 2005 7
    8. 8. % regular Internet users Why the decrease? Less Chatroom Use 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 56% -26% 30% 2000 2005 8
    9. 9. Why the decrease? 5 Years of Prevention Education • Many of the youth in focus groups had absorbed prevention messages about online predators 9
    10. 10. Aggressive Solicitations • Aggressive solicitations – Offline contact with the solicitor through mail, by telephone or in person – or attempts or requests for offline contact 10
    11. 11. No Decline in Aggressive Solicitations • 4% of youth Internet users in YISS-2 • 3% five years ago 50 % regular Internet users 45 40 35 30 25 19% 20 13% 15 10 3% 5 0 2000 2005 Any Solicitation 4% 2000 2005 Aggressive Solicitations 11
    12. 12. Distressing Solicitations • Distressing solicitations – Youth rated self as very or extremely upset or afraid as a result of the incident 12
    13. 13. No Decline in Distressing Solicitations • 4% of youth Internet users in YISS-2 • 5% five years ago % regular Internet users 50 45 40 35 30 25 19% 20 13% 15 10 3% 5 4% 5% 4% 2000 2005 2000 2005 0 2000 2005 Any Solicitation Aggressive Solicitations Distressing Solicitations 13
    14. 14. Unwanted Exposures to Pornography DEFINITION Without seeking or expecting sexual material • Being exposed to pictures of naked people or people having sex • When doing online searches, surfing the web, opening e-mail, Instant Messages, or links Distressing exposure – youth rated self very or extremely upset as a result of the incident 14
    15. 15. Unwanted exposures to pornography increased. • 1/3 of youth Internet users (34%) % regular Internet users  25% five years ago 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 34% 25% +9% 2000 2005 Any Exposure Any Exposure 15
    16. 16. Distressing exposures also increased. • 9% of youth Internet users • 6% five years ago 50 % regular Internet users 45 40 34% 35 30 25% 25 20 +3% 15 9% 6% 10 5 0 2000 2005 Any Exposure 2000 2005 Distressing Exposures 16
    17. 17. Why the increase? Increased Internet Use Compared to 2000, the number of youth who used the Internet • At home  Up 17% • At School  Up 17% • In 3 or more places  Up 23% 17
    18. 18. Why the increase? Increased Internet Use Compared to 2000, the number of youth who used the Internet • In the past week  Up 10% • 2+ hours at a time  Up 10% • 5 - 7 days per week  Up 18% 18
    19. 19. But increased Internet use, alone, is not enough… (Solicitations declined with increase in use.) 19
    20. 20. Why the increase? Aggressive & Unethical Marketing of Pornography • Pop-up & banner ads • SPAM • Malware     Spyware, adware, pornware Malicious installers Hijacking Unauthorized links 20
    21. 21. Why the increase? Technological Changes • Increased capacity of computers to receive, store and transmit images     Size of hard drives, amount of memory DSL lines Digital photography Web cams & streaming video 21
    22. 22. Threats & Harassment DEFINITION • Threats or other offensive behavior (not sexual solicitation) • Sent online to the victim, or • Sent or posted online about the youth for others to see 22
    23. 23. Threats and harassment also increased. • 1 in 11 youth (9%) % regular Internet users  1 in 17 five years ago (6%) 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 6% +3% 2000 9% 2005 Any harassment 23
    24. 24. Why the increase? More youth admitted being rude and harassing others. 50 % Internet-using youth 45 40 35 28% 30 25 20 +14% 14% 15 +8% 10 9% 1% 5 0 2000 2005 Made rude or nasty comments 2000 2005 Harassed or embarrassed someone mad at 24
    25. 25. Why the increase? Since 2000, • More Internet access by youth with behavior problems? • Deteriorating civility?  Online bullying and harassment becoming institutionalized among youth? • More youth-created vehicles for online harassment?  “Rating” sites, blogs & online journals, etc. 25
    26. 26. Sexual Solicitations & Approaches DEFINITION: Online requests • To engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or • Give personal sexual information That were • Unwanted, or • Made by a person 5 or more years older (whether wanted or not) 26
    27. 27. Sexual Solicitations Included • Sexual approaches • Sexual solicitations • Online relationships  People 5 or more years older with  Sexual element to relationship • Solicitations to run away 27
    28. 28. 1 in 7 youth (13%, n = 200) were solicited. Aggressive solicitations – 4% Distressing solicitations – 4% Any incident Distressing incident Aggressive incident % Internet-using youth 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 13% 4% 4% Sexual solicitations 28
    29. 29. Characteristics of Solicited Youth • 30% were boys (34% in 2000) Sexual solicitations remained rare among pre-teen youth • 10-year-olds reported no solicitations • 11 & 12 year-olds reported 10% of incidents  Compared to 11% in 2000 29
    30. 30. Characteristics of Solicitors • Male – 73% of solicitations • More solicitors were described as adults  39% in YISS-2, compared to 24% in YISS-1 • 30% described as ages 18 to 25 30
    31. 31. Characteristics of Solicitors Most youth who met solicitors online were not certain of solicitors’ ages. • Only 13% were very or extremely certain 31
    32. 32. Characteristics of Solicitors • Increase in % of solicitors that youth knew in person  Prior face-to-face acquaintances • 14% in YISS-2 • 3% in YISS-1 32
    33. 33. What happened? • Home computers (79%) • Fewer began in chatrooms  About 1/3 (38%) • Almost 2/3 five years ago (65%) • More began with Instant Messages (40%)  24% five years ago 33
    34. 34. What Youth Said • Girl, 14: “I was chatting on the Internet and this guy just popped up in an Instant Message and started talking really dirty to me and saying things that I had never heard of before. He told me he was 30 years old and then he said, ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud).” 34
    35. 35. What Youth Said • Girl, 12: “I went into the chatroom and they asked me if I wanted to have cybersex. I was asking them what kind of music they liked and stuff.” • Boy, 11, who was playing an online game with a man, 20: “He asked me something personal, something about a man’s privates.” 35
    36. 36. Aggressive Solicitations • 1/3 of solicitors were aggressive       23% 11% 5% 4% 3% 1% -- asked youth to meet face-to-face -- called on telephone -- came to youths’ homes -- gave money or gifts -- sent mail to youth -- bought travel tickets for youth 36
    37. 37. Sexual Assaults • 2 girls were sexually assaulted by men they met online  1 stereotypical online meeting case  1 attempted rape, after a friend of the victim invited a man the victim met online to a party 37
    38. 38. Solicitations for Sexual Photos: A New Concern 4% of youth Internet users (n = 57) said solicitors asked them to take sexual photographs of themselves and send them online to solicitors 38
    39. 39. What Youth Said • Boy, 15: A teenage girl “asked me to get naked on ‘cam’ but I just ignored her.” • Girl, 16: “This guy IM’ed [me] and asked me to take off my shirt.” 39
    40. 40. What Youth Said • Girl, 16: “I was on AOL Instant Messenger and this boy, who was a friend that I had known for a long time, asked me to finger myself in front of the web cam. I just told him that if he ever asked me that again, I would never talk to him again.” 40
    41. 41. What Youth Said • Girl, 12: A man in his 30s “asked me to describe myself and to stick in a pen in my private parts and set up a digital camera and show the parts of my body.” • Girl, 17: A man in a Yahoo chat room “offered me $1000 to expose myself to him. I recorded [what he wrote] and gave it to the police.” 41
    42. 42. Sending Sexual Photos to Solicitors • 1 youth admitted to sending a sexual photo to a solicitor  A 16-year-old boy sent his picture to a 23-year old woman 42
    43. 43. Sexual Photos of Solicitors In 7% of incidents (n = 14), solicitors sent sexual photos of themselves to youth 43
    44. 44. What Youth Said • Girl, 11: A man who said he was 19 “was showing his body parts.” • Girl, 15: An 18-year-old male “[had] a web cam. I wanted to see what he looked like. He was naked. Then I clicked off and blocked him. [It happened because] he was being perverted. I was tricked.” 44
    45. 45. What Youth Said • Girl, 16: A 35-year-old man “kept taking nude pictures of himself and sending them to me. He was writing stuff like how big his cock is.” 45
    46. 46. How Solicitations Ended Youth … • Blocked or removed solicitor from buddy list – 30% • Logged off – 25% • Left site – 22% • Told solicitor to stop – 16% • Ignored – 11% Youth … • Let parent or teacher handle – < 1% • Called police or other authority – 1% 46
    47. 47. Most solicitations were not distressing. Two-thirds of incidents (66%) were neither • Very upsetting nor • Very frightening 47
    48. 48. Stress Symptoms among Solicited Youth In 25% of the incidents, youth reported at least one of the following symptoms of stress • Hyper-arousal • Avoidance reactions, or • Intrusive recollections At a level of 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 4 48
    49. 49. Online Relationships with Older People • 3% of youth had formed close friendships with people 5 or more years older they met online • 1% had a face-to-face meeting with an older person they met online 49
    50. 50. Most relationships with older people seemed benign. • A boy, 16, became friends with a 40-year-old woman in a chatroom about psychic phenomena. They exchanged pictures and telephone calls. They met face-to-face in a public place. One of his parents and a friend went along. He said, “She’s really nice.” 50
    51. 51. Most relationships with older people seemed benign. • An 11-year-old boy became friends with a young man, 18, in a gaming site. There was no exchange of pictures or offline contact of any sort. The boy said, “He is a nice guy. He has not done anything bad.” 51
    52. 52. Online Relationships with Sexual Elements • 8 youth (0.5%) reported online relationships with sexual elements, with people who were 5 or more years older • Sexual elements     Asking for a sexually explicit photo Sending a sexually explicit photo Physical sexual contact Other behavior that showed sexual interest 52
    53. 53. Online Relationships with Sexual Elements • A 12-year-old girl met an 18-year-old man online, through Instant Messages. She became uncomfortable when he asked her to have cybersex. She said, “I never gave him my e-mail. I would never give [out my] address, city or anything.” 53
    54. 54. Online Relationships with Sexual Elements • A 16-year-old girl became afraid of a 32-year-old man she met online. He wanted a sexual picture of her and used the Internet to find out personal information about her. She said, “When he told me all the things that he knew about me, [it] was enough to make me stop going to that site altogether. He tried to contact me after this happened and I wouldn’t send a reply back to him. He hasn’t bothered me since.” 54
    55. 55. Online Relationships with Sexual Elements  2 girls and 1 boy, all age 17, had consensual sexual relationships with people 5 or more years older they met online  The older people were ages 22, 23 & 24 55
    56. 56. Solicitations: Summary Fewer youth Internet users reported sexual solicitations and approaches compared to 5 years ago. However, there was no decline in aggressive or distressing solicitations 56
    57. 57. Solicitations: Summary Solicitors are still primarily targeting adolescents. A surprisingly large number of youth reported being solicited for sexual photos. 57
    58. 58. Unwanted Exposures to Pornography DEFINITION Without seeking or expecting sexual material • Being exposed to pictures of naked people or people having sex • When doing online searches, surfing the web, opening e-mail, Instant Messages or links • Distressing exposures– Youth rated self as very or extremely upset as a result of the incident 58
    59. 59. % Internet-using youth 1 in 3 youth (34%, n = 512) were exposed to pornography they did not want to see. Distressing exposures – 9% 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Any incident Distressing incident 34% 9% Unwanted exposure 59
    60. 60. Characteristics of Exposed Youth • Girls, 46% & boys 54%  Compared to girls, 42% & boys 58% in 2000 • 10, 11 & 12 year-olds reported 13% of exposures  Compared to 7% in 2000 60
    61. 61. Sources of Exposures More youth were exposed while surfing the Web – 83%, compared to 71% five years ago      Online searches, 40% of incidents Clicking on links in websites, 17% Pop-up ad, 14% Misspelled Web addresses, 12% Other ways, 13% 61
    62. 62. Where did exposures occur? • More happened on home computers – 79%, compared to 67% five years ago. But many incidents happened in other places • School, 9% • Friends’ homes, 5% • Other places including libraries, 5% 62
    63. 63. More Than Just Naked People • In 43% of incidents, youth saw pictures of naked people only • 57% involved more explicit images  People having sex – 37%  Sexual violence – 13%  “Animals or other strange things” – 10% 63
    64. 64. What Youth Said • Girl, 13: “I was getting directions for my Mom …and I was trying to click the Destination part of Mapquest and a website came up that had a web cam and a picture of a naked lady on there. It had pretty graphic words on there also.” • Boy, 13: “It was a picture of Homer and Marge. [They were] naked and you can probably guess the rest.” 64
    65. 65. What Youth Said • Boy, 14: “I opened a link. It took me to a site and there was a pop up [of] a huge orgy and there were other things. Someone sent me [the] link and I guess there was a virus on his computer because he didn’t mean to send it.” 65
    66. 66. What Youth Said • Boy, 15: “I was talking to my cousin by AOL Instant Messenger when one popup with porn [came up]. Then more porn pop ups kept coming and I had to shut my computer down. It may have happened when I disabled the pop up blocker so I could listen to music and forgot to bring it back.” 66
    67. 67. What Youth Said • Boy, 10: “I was searching in Google and a link came up that I clicked on, and it was a website that had naked people on it…. I closed it right away. Then pop-up ads kept coming up that were about dirty things. This was only an accident and I told my parents.” • Boy, 12: “I was going to a froot loops site… It took me to this weird website. I saw people with half sex changes who looked part male and part female and who were naked. I spelled ‘froot’ wrong. … I spelled it ‘fruit’ instead of ‘froot’.” 67
    68. 68. Two youth told about stumbling upon child pornography. • Boy, 11, doing an online search. “[I saw] naked men with young boys on the screen.” • Boy, 17, looking for games from a computer in his bedroom: “I clicked on a link and I did not know what it was. It took me to an underage porn site, which is illegal… I know you’re not allowed to go to those. It was disguised as a different link.” 68
    69. 69. Why did exposures happen? • • • • • “I spelled a word wrong.” “I guess I wasn’t being careful.” “I was not clear enough doing the search.” “I was dumb enough to click on the link.” “I didn’t read the information underneath the link.” 69
    70. 70. Why did exposures happen? • Boy, 17: “People who run porn sites purposely buy old domain web sites and they change the web sites to what [they’re] not supposed to be.” • Boy, 17: “I go to web sites about racing dirt bikes and when I’m on there pop-up ads come up with naked pictures of girls and guys. … Some of the sites have swimsuit calendars on them and it kind of opens the door for other pornographic images to appear.” 70
    71. 71. Why did exposures happen? • Boy, 17: “Whoever put it on there wanted someone to get interested. Someone who wanted to see those kinds of pictures would click on it and it would spark an interest.” • Boy, 17: “The porn market is really big. … I think they just want young people to go there.” 71
    72. 72. Exposures Happened During Searches for… Youth interests • X-Men • Skate board tricks • Drum beats • Cheerleading stunts • Cars • Song lyrics • Hairstyles • Patches for software School projects • Romeo and Juliet • Famous poets • Benjamin Franklin • Fire prevention • DNA • Liquids • Squid • Forensic serology 72
    73. 73. Stress Symptoms among Exposed Youth In 19% of incidents, youth reported at least one of the following symptoms of stress • Hyper-arousal • Avoidance reactions, or • Intrusive recollections At a level of 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 4 73
    74. 74. % caregivers Parent Reports: Use of Filtering, Blocking & Monitoring Software 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 50% 38% 2000 +12% 2005 74
    75. 75. Exposure to Pornography: Summary The number of youth Internet users reporting unwanted exposures to pornography is very large, and it has increased substantially in the past 5 years. 75
    76. 76. Exposure to Pornography: Summary • These increases in exposure happened at the same time that the use of filtering, blocking & monitoring software increased. 76
    77. 77. Threats & Harassment DEFINITION • Threats or other offensive behavior (not sexual solicitation) • Sent online to the victim, or • Posted online about the youth for others to see or sent to others 77
    78. 78. % Internet-using youth 1 in 11 youth (9%, n = 130) were harassed online. Distressing harassment – 3% 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Any incident Distressing incident 9% 3% Harassment 78
    79. 79. Characteristics of Harassed Youth • 58% girls, 42% boys • 72% of the episodes occurred to high school age youth (14 – 17)  Same as in 2000 79
    80. 80. Characteristics of Harassers • 44% were offline friends or acquaintances  Compared to 28% five years ago • Half (50%) male, 28% female, 21% unknown • Most under 18 (58%)  63% in 2000 80
    81. 81. What happened? • • • • Most (85%) happened on a home computer Instant Messages (47%) E-mails (13%) Chatrooms (11%) 81
    82. 82. What Youth Said… • Girl, 12: “These people from school were calling me a prostitute and whore … and saying I was raped. [It happened] because I’m an easy target. I didn’t let it bother me until about a month ago and [then] I started getting physical with people.” 82
    83. 83. What Youth Said… • Boy, 14: “I have my own … website and I have my own page on it and someone posted something bad about me on it.” • Boy, 15: “I was playing a first person shooter game and unintentionally offended this person who became very serious and began to threaten me by saying if this was real life he would physically harm me. [It happened because he] was unable to accept this was just a game.” 83
    84. 84. Stress Symptoms among Harassed Youth In 34% of the incidents, youth reported at least one of the following symptoms of stress • Hyper-arousal • Avoidance reactions, or • Intrusive recollections At a level of 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 4 84
    85. 85. Threats & Harassment: Summary Online harassment appears to be growing, particularly among youth who know each other in person. 85
    86. 86. Threats & Harassment: Summary Online harassment may have more impact on youth, especially when it occurs among friends and schoolmates. 86
    87. 87. Have youth gotten prevention information? 87
    88. 88. Parents’ Views on Prevention Parents have talked to their children about: • • • • • Giving out personal information online (90%) Chatting with strangers (87%) Responding to offensive messages (79%) Talking online about sex (77%) Dealing with x-rated SPAM or pop-ups (77%) 88
    89. 89. Children’s Views on Prevention Children say their parents or teachers have talked to them about how to avoid: • X-rated pictures online (66%) • People online who might try to talk to them about sex (58%) • Those online who might bother, threaten or harass (65%) 89
    90. 90. Law Enforcement Safety Presentations • About 1 in 5 youth had attended a presentation about Internet safety that was put on by law enforcement  21% (n = 321) 90
    91. 91. % respondents Did more parents or youth know about places to report incidents? 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 31% +4% 35% 24% -6% 18% 20 10 0 2000 2005 Parents 2000 2005 Youth 91
    92. 92. % respondents Did more parents or youth know about the CyberTipline? 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 10% 9% 2% 2000 2005 Parents +3% 2000 5% 2005 Youth 92
    93. 93. Knowledge of the CyberTipline Youth who attended law enforcement Internet safety presentations were more likely to know about reporting and the CyberTipline • 23% knew of places to report  Compared to 17% w/o LEA safety info • 8% knew of the CyberTipline  Compared to 5% w/o LEA safety info 93
    94. 94. Youth remain reluctant to reveal unwanted solicitations, exposures and harassment. 94
    95. 95. Overall, more harassment incidents were disclosed to someone. % Internet-using yothu 40 34% Had Incident Told someone 35 30 25 25% 19% 20 13% 15 9% 10 5 15% 10% 17% 6% 6% 5% 0 6% 2000 2005 2000 2005 2000 2005 Solicitation Exposure Harassment 95
    96. 96. Few youth told parents what happened. % Internet-using yothu 40 Had Incident Told Parent 34% 35 30 25% 25 20 19% 13% 15 9% 10 5 0 6% 10% 5% 10% 3% 2% 3% 2000 2005 2000 2005 2000 2005 Solicitation Exposure Harassment 96
    97. 97. Few incidents were reported to authorities. % Internet-using yothu 40 Had Incident Told Authority 34% 35 30 25% 25 20 15 19% 13% 9% 10 6% All 1% 5 0 2000 2005 Solicitation 2000 2005 Exposure 2000 2005 Harassment 97
    98. 98. Why didn’t youth tell? Might get in trouble, 9% Afraid, 13% Not serious enough, 72% 98
    99. 99. Prevention: Summary Internet safety information from law enforcement seems to be having some impact. 99
    100. 100. Prevention: Summary More families are using filtering and blocking software. 100
    101. 101. Prevention: Summary No change in the low rates of disclosure, particularly among reports to authorities. 101
    102. 102. Are youth doing risky things online? 102
    103. 103. Online Risky Behavior • Giving out personal information or pictures online • Engaging in sexual behaviors online • Being rude or using the Internet to harass or embarrass 103
    104. 104. Posting Personal Information Online 50 % Internet-using youth 45 40 34% 35 30 25 +23% 18% 20 15 +13% 11% 10 5% 5 0 2000 2005 Posted personal information 2000 2005 Posted picture 104
    105. 105. Going to X-Rated Sites on Purpose % Internet-using youth 50 40 30 13% 20 8% +5% 10 0 2000 2005 105
    106. 106. Going to X-Rated Sites on Purpose Youth found out about sites they went to through: • Another youth (52%) • An online search not about sex (33%) • A pop-up or other ad (27%) • SPAM (14%) • Someone they met online (1%) 106
    107. 107. Talking about Sex with Strangers Online 50 % Internet-using youth 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 7% 10 5% 5 0 2000 2005 107
    108. 108. Using the Internet to Harass 50 % Internet-using youth 45 40 35 28% 30 25 20 +14% 14% 15 +8% 10 9% 1% 5 0 2000 2005 Made rude or nasty comments 2000 2005 Harassed or embarrassed someone mad at 108
    109. 109. Risky Behavior: Summary A lot of risky Internet use and unwanted experiences were not solitary. 109
    110. 110. Risky Behavior: Summary Still relatively low levels of risky sexual behavior. 110
    111. 111. Risky Behavior: Summary Particularly large increases in youth being rude, nasty, and harassing others online. 111
    112. 112. What should you find out about the Internet in specific cases? 112
    113. 113. For all youth acting out online, find out… For households • Is there Internet access?  Where is the computer?  Is it in the common area?  Does it have software to filter or block sexual material or otherwise monitor Internet use?  Is there a web camera/scanner/digital camera?  Do adults need education about Internet safety? 113
    114. 114. For youth acting out sexually online find out… Are adults using computers to… • Access adult porn sites? • Access child pornography? • Trade child pornography? • Visit chat rooms that discuss sex with minors? • Troll for victims?  Collect profiles  Hang out in teen chat rooms • Communicate with victims? • Store produced child pornography? 114
    115. 115. Find out… Are youth • Using suggestive screen names or posting suggestive profiles? • Visiting porn sites? • Talking online to adults about sex?  Cybersex • Using online dating sites? • Making friends with adults online?  Gifts?  Telephone contact?  Face-to-face meetings? 115
    116. 116. Find out… Are youth • Being photographed in sexual positions? • Sending or posting sexual pictures of themselves? • Being exposed to online pornography?  How? • Being sexually solicited online? 116
    117. 117. For youth who have been the target of harassment, find out… Are youth 117
    118. 118. RECOMMENDATIONS 118
    119. 119. The decline in sexual solicitations is good news. • More young people are confining their online communications to people they know in person. • Real possibility that much of this decline can be attributed to prevention programs • Continue prevention messages 119
    120. 120. Next Steps for Prevention Programs • Prevention should be aimed at teens – Few younger kids being targeted      Kids in middle and high school Acknowledge teen interests & independence Acknowledge teen interest in sex Different messages for different ages Don’t leave out older kids – those 16 & 17 120
    121. 121. Next Steps for Prevention Programs Focus on teen desires for love and romance • Illusions of love • Romantic fantasy 121
    122. 122. Next Steps for Prevention Programs Be frank with youth about online sexual activities • Going to x-rated chatrooms • Talking about sex with people they meet online • Looking at pornography • Cybersex 122
    123. 123. Prevention of Sexual Photos • Possibly increasing youth involvement in the making and transmission of sexual photos  Teach what is illegal  Dangers of permanent dissemination of pictures  Understanding of voyeurism and exhibitionism as perversions  Educate parents about misuse of webcams and digital cameras 123
    124. 124. Acquaintances as Solicitors Increasing solicitations from acquaintances • No evidence these incidents are less harmful or disturbing • Much sexual victimization among youth is perpetrated by peers • Use prevention to discourage adolescent offending 124
    125. 125. Next Steps for Prevention Programs Take on harassment issue • Increase in harassment and signs of more elaborate forms 125
    126. 126. Harassment Prevention • Describe problem effectively for kids, parents and officials • Include online harassment in anti-bullying programs in schools • Propose codes of conduct • Urge strong sanctions by schools and youth groups for online harassment 126
    127. 127. The Pornography Exposure Problem • Focus on “unwanted” part of Internet porn exposure • Education for kids about these practices • Inoculate kids for exposure • Make security easier, built in, less dependent on individual initiative, technical knowledge • Teach more sophisticated lessons about protecting privacy 127
    128. 128. Promote Reporting • Reporting is low and knowledge about reporting declined • Desensitization, cynicism, discouragement, ignorance 128
    129. 129. Motivate People to Report: Teach reasons to report 129
    130. 130. Increase the number and visibility of reporting options. 130
    131. 131. Enhance Reporting Mechanisms. 131
    132. 132. Enhance Internet Accountability. 132
    133. 133.   Evaluate and improve filtering and blocking software solutions. 133
    134. 134. Train mental health, youth service and educational professionals to recognize and respond to Internet problems. 134
    135. 135. Research • Effective prevention for at risk youth • Group dynamics of risky online behavior 135