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Cyber safety for adolescent girls: bullying, harassment, sexting, pornography, and solicitation

Smith, Peter K.a; Thompson, Frana; Davidson, Juliab

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: October 2014 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 360–365
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000106
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Purpose of review To examine cyber safety for adolescent girls, specifically issues around the definition, measurement, prevalence, and impact of cyberbullying, harassment, sexting, pornography, and solicitation.

Recent findings Despite some continuing disagreements about definition, especially around cyberbullying and cyber harassment, and about measurement, it is clear that a significant minority of adolescents have potentially or actually harmful experiences on the Internet. There are important sex differences, and those exploited by pornography are mainly women. On some measures, these dangers have increased in recent years, although the extent can be exaggerated. The nature of Internet grooming appears to be changing. Negative effects are well documented in a range of domains, although more longitudinal studies are needed. Individual coping strategies, family and school-based support, and legal actions, all have a role to play in minimizing these dangers.

Summary Cyber safety is an important issue. More research and action is needed, and interventions need to be evaluated for their effectiveness.

aUnit for School and Family Studies, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London

bCentre for Abuse & Trauma Studies, School of Law, University of Middlesex, London, UK

Correspondence to Peter K. Smith, Unit for School and Family Studies, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK. Tel: +44 2079197898; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins