A new report released by UNICEF, Perils and Possibilities: Growing Up Online has revealed that 8 out of 10 18 year olds believ that young people are in danger of being sexually abused or taken advantage of online. The report was based on an international poll of more than 10,000 18-year-olds from 25 countries and it discusses the young people’s perspectives on the risks they face while growing up in a connected world.
The report revealed that more than 5 out 10 of the people who participated in the poll think that friends participate in risky behaviours while using the Internet. Cornelius Williams, UNICEF’s Associate Director of Child Protection said that the Internet and mobile phones have revolutionized young people’s access to information and that the poll’s findings showed just how real the risk of online abuse is for both girls and boys. He elaborated that globally one in three internet users is a child and that the poll findings provide important insights from the young people themselves.
The UNICEF report found that adolescents appear confident with their own ability to stay safe while using the internet, with nearly 90 per cent of interviewees believing they can avoid online dangers. Approximately six out of 10 said meeting new people online is either somewhat or very important to them, but only 36 per cent strongly believe they can tell when people are lying about who they are online. Additionally, two thirds of 18-year-olds in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean believe children and adolescents are in danger of being sexually abused or taken advantage of online, compared with 33 per cent polled in the Middle East and North Africa.
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