While the number of teens who have been made uncomfortable by an online experience with someone they do not know is relatively small, there are certain traits and activities that are more likely to attract interactions with unknown individuals, whether unwanted or otherwise. In particular, teens who have created profiles on social networking sites (SNS) and those who have posted photos of themselves online are more likely than others to be contacted online by strangers. Girls are more likely than boys to report online contact that made them scared or uncomfortable.
These findings are based on a survey of 935 teens age 12-17 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project taken from October 23 to November 19, 2006.
Other key findings include:
- Those who have posted photos of themselves and created profiles on social networking sites are more likely to have been contacted online by people they do not know. However, these teens are no more likely to find these contacts scary or uncomfortable than other online teens who are contacted by strangers.
- Internet monitoring software that allows parental supervision seems to be more effective than online filtering software in limiting contact with strangers online.