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Study: Teens Divulge In Risky Behavior on Social Networking Sites

January 19, 2009

Kansas City, MO - Parents naturally worry that social networking sites might put youngsters' private lives in a fishbowl, and new research now shows these schools of fish are discussing sex, substance abuse, drugs and violence. Researchers hope their findings lead to more parental vigilance.

Dr. Daryl Lynch, chief of adolescent medicine at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, advises parents to become Internet savvy so teens aren’t guiding themselves. He says the key is keeping the lines of communication open.

"Talk about some examples of how individuals have been hurt or to discuss what’s considered appropriate and not appropriate and what should remain private."

Parents need to become aware of the significant dangers when teens share personal information, according to Dr. Lynch.

"When we get into Internet sites and the capability of other people to find out information about your child without your knowledge then the stakes go up significantly."

Teenagers often don’t think about the long-term impact of their involvement on such Web sites, says Lynch. He adds, once a picture or information is placed online, oftentimes it's there to stay and can follow the teen the rest of their life. He suggests keeping the computer in an open area, and talking about what is appropriate to share online. Approximately half of all teens who use the Internet report using social networking sites.


Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MO