Teenage girls more at risk from harmful content online than boys

Stuff co.nz 5 June 2018
Family First Comment: “Seven in 10 teens experienced at least one type of unwanted digital communication in the past year. Not all caused harm or distress. Most common was being contacted by a stranger and accidentally seeing inappropriate content online. It most commonly happened on social media – and even more commonly for girls than boys, who were more likely to experience that through online gaming.”

Teenage girls get more unwanted harmful messages online or on a device, are affected by it more, and are less likely to get a good outcome when dealing with one than boys are.

A study into New Zealand teenagers and digital harm has found the issue is gendered, and it says that’s concerning.

“Girls not only were more likely to experience an unwanted digital communication but also to be emotionally affected and unable to carry on with daily activities because of it,” the study states.

“Girls were more likely to feel annoyed, confused and anxious than boys. Similar patterns were found about feeling distressed, insecure, unsafe, and horrified.

“Being unable to participate online in the way they used to and go to school or study were also more common among girls.”

Girls were at a higher risk of being harmed by online communications than boys.

The study, which sampled 1001 teens aged 14 to 17 years old in the third term of 2017, was conducted by the Ministry for Women and Netsafe.

Ministry for Women chief executive Renee Graham said: “It is very concerning that any young person receives unwanted messages.

“Having done the research we now know where our efforts need to be directed. We have to understand more about how to prevent harm online, about how to keep safe, and what to do when it is not safe. This research is a step in this direction.

“The research raises concerns around attitudes towards mental health, consent, healthy relationships, and rape culture … [it] will be used by us and across multiple government agencies to guide policy-making in relevant areas, particularly in ongoing work to end violence against women and girls.”
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/104481457/Teenage-girls-more-at-risk-from-harmful-content-online-than-boys

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