Text-Messaging-Based Negative Experiences Up 2006 to 2008

However, Internet violence exposure rates remained constant from 2006 through 2008

MONDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of Internet-based violent experiences and exposures among children in the United States have remained constant from 2006 to 2008, whereas text-messaging-based experiences have increased, according to a report published online Nov. 21 in Pediatrics.

Michele L. Ybarra, M.P.H., Ph.D., from Internet Solutions for Kids Inc. in San Clemente, Calif., and colleagues investigated the rates of technology-based violent experiences and exposures among 1,588 U.S. children, aged 10 to 15 years, through national online surveys in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The investigators reported that the rates of online victimization and perpetration and exposures to violent Web sites were largely constant from 2006 to 2008 among otherwise similar youth, except for significant reductions in harassment perpetration and violent cartoon site exposures. Older age and general technology use were associated with increased exposure. Rates of harassment victimization and perpetration via text messages increased during the study period. Age was not predictive of text-messaging experiences, but general technology use was predictive of violent text-messaging experiences. For youth who reported Internet harassment, 20 to 25 percent reported feeling very or extremely upset by their most serious incident, with the odds of distress unrelated to age, gender, race and ethnicity, household income, and general technology use.

"Our findings suggest that general technology use and age are important factors in predicting risk for violent exposures and experiences online," the authors write. "Professionals who work with adolescents need to take into account the young person's place in his or her social development when trying to understand online behaviors and experiences."

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