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Study Demonstrates Internet Risks for Teen Girls
Date:5/26/2009

Noll, who found that caregiver presence was associated with significantly fewer reports by adolescents of online solicitations. For example, she says parents should emphasize to adolescents ways to ward off sexual advances and explain to them how virtual self-representations can influence behaviors and perceptions.

Primary care physicians, too, should consider asking teen patients about their Internet use as an aspect of comprehensive care. Not enough people are talking about how teens are being proactive in "putting themselves out there for public consumption," according to Dr. Noll.

"In many respects, reacting to normal urges and curiosities about sex is a large part of normative adolescent development, but doing so via virtual personas or provocative self-descriptors in social networking worlds may not be the healthiest or most safe avenue by which to explore," she says.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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