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Presentation Transcript
slide2

Nancy Cheever, M.A.Assistant Professor, CommunicationsCalifornia State University, Dominguez HillsDoctoral Student, Fielding Graduate Universityand Larry Rosen, Ph.D.Professor, Psychology California State University, Dominguez Hills

introduction
Introduction
  • Media portray sexual predators as rampant on the Internet

Dateline, NBC: ”To Catch a Predator”

sexual predators are lured by decoy via chat rooms and subsequently questioned about the activity on national television and then arrested by police

introduction1
Introduction

“Social Networking Makes

Protecting Kids Tougher for Cops”

  • Foxnews.com, June 23, 2006

“Sexual predators prowl Internet for prey”

Tribune-Review News Service

“Congress, MySpace Team Up to

Fight Sexual Predators”

  • ABC News, April 21, 2007
literature review
Literature Review
  • Mitchell, Wolak and Finkelhor (2007)
    • decline in unwanted sexual solicitations between 2000 and 2005
    • increase in online harassment & unwanted exposure to pornography among 10- to 17-year-olds between 2000 and 2005
    • “Youth continue to encounter substantial numbers of offensive episodes online” (p. 124)
literature review1
Literature Review
  • Pierce (2007)
    • Sampled 700 MySpace pages
      • 59% portrayed risqué or sexual poses
      • 17%/28% depicting nudity (male/female)
    • Over half the sites used profanity
    • One-third used sexual profanity
    • Sexual images most often on the pages of 14- to 15-year-olds
method
Method
  • Studies 2 & 3
    • Asked about perceptions of sexual predators on MySpace
    • Asked about perceptions of media coverage of sexual predators on Internet
    • Parents and teen pairs
      • Study 2: N=267
      • Study 3: N=342
results
Results

Parents and teens “somewhat” or “very”

concerned about potential problems, Study 2

_________________________________________________

Potential Internet Problem Parents Teens

_________________________________________________

Sexual predators 83% 35%

Social isolation 75% 15%

Addiction to MySpace 72% 21%

Addiction to the Internet 73% 17%

Others posting personal info 82% 29%

Others posting sexual pictures 88% 29%

Others viewing sexual pictures 88% 38%

slide9

Opinions about prevalence of online sexual

predators comparing Studies 2 & 3

_________________________________________________

Sexual Predators Parents Teens

Study 2 Study 3 Study 2 Study 3

_________________________________________________

Prevalence

Very rare 6% 3% 19% 11%

Some, 31% 17% 46% 30%

but not too many

Quite a few 63% 80% 36% 59%

slide10
Opinions about media coverage of online sexual

predators comparing Studies 2 & 3

_________________________________________________

Sexual Predators Parents Teens

Study 2 Study 3 Study 2 Study 3

_________________________________________________

Media Coverage

Underestimate 22% 26% 12% 11%

Pretty close to truth 43% 47% 29% 39%

A bit overblown 22% 18% 30% 29%

Quite a bit overblown 8% 6% 13% 11%

Blown out of proportion 4% 4% 16% 10%

slide12
Online problems, reactions and feelings, Study 3

_________________________________________________

MySpace Problems Study 3

_________________________________________________

Sexual solicitation 15%

Reactions

Reacted Appropriately 58%

Ignored 32%

Feeling

Very/Extremely upset 16%

Somewhat upset 33%

Not upset at all 51%

slide13
Online problems, reactions and feelings, Study 3

___________________________________________________

MySpace Problems Study 3

___________________________________________________

Unwanted exposure to sexual materials 14%

Reactions

Reacted Appropriately 53%

Ignored 37%

Feelings

Very/Extremely upset 19%

Somewhat upset 40%

Not upset at all 42%

who gets approached
Who gets approached?
  • Females more than males
  • On MySpace for more than a year vs. less than a year
  • Spending more time on MySpace
  • More MySpace friends
  • Feeling there are quite a few sexual predators on MySpace vs. feeling sexual predators are rare
discussion
Discussion
  • Study 2
    • only 8% of the teens had an uncomfortable experience of a sexual nature, mostly from what they termed “perverts”
  • Study 3
    • 15% of teens reported approached by sexual solicitor
    • in agreement with the 13% solicitation rate reported by Wolak, et al. (2006)
discussion1
Discussion
  • One in seven MySpace teens receive some sexual solicitation
    • Nearly all reacted appropriately:
      • rebuffed the person
      • blocked him from their MySpace page
      • reported the incident to an adult
      • ignored the solicitation
    • Half were not upset by the experience
  • Media reported sexual predation is an overblown, fictionalized account of MySpace
discussion2
Discussion

Parents and teens differ on areas of

concern

  • Parents more concerned about potential MySpace hazards
    • Differing perception of prevalence of sexual predators and the accuracy of media coverage of these predators
conclusion
Conclusion

View of MySpace different than what is portrayed in the media

Unwanted sexual solicitation may not be as rampant on MySpace as the media proliferate

It is not a place where unknown people ask for sex

Episodes happen, but it is a momentary event that is quickly dismissed

conclusion1
Conclusion
  • MySpace may make adolescent transitions easier

OR

  • May provide additional struggles as teens search for their identity
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Parents should become more aware of what their teens are doing on MySpace
  • Parents and media should stop focusing on sexual predators and start assessing the MySpace actions of teens