THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of Internet sexual offenders bring up the topic of sex during the first chat session with adolescents and young adults, a new study has found.
This and other findings highlight the dangers that social networks can pose to some young people, according to the researchers who conducted the study, reported in the July issue of the American Journal of Nursing.
"The use of online social networks such as Facebook continues to rapidly increase among all age groups, providing new opportunities for the exchange of sexual information and potential unsafe encounters between predators and the vulnerable young," lead author Elizabeth B. Dowdell, associate professor at Villanova University College of Nursing in Pennsylvania, said in a journal news release.
She and her colleagues analyzed questionnaires completed by 404 middle school students (ages 9-15), 2,077 high school students (ages 15-18), 1,284 students at four-year colleges, and 466 men who had been convicted of either an Internet sexual offense or a hands-on sexual offense and/or a prior Internet offense.
Among the other findings:
The FBI offers a parents' guide to Internet safety.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Journal of Nursing, news release, June 21, 2011
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