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