Both studies confirm ”what we’re finding out in research, that the online behaviors seem to mimic offline behaviors,” Jeff Temple told Reuters Health.Temple, who was not involved with the new studies, is a psychologist and women’s health researcher from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.In one study, researchers led by Rebecca Dick at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh surveyed a representative sample of 14 to 19 year olds from California in the 2012 school year and found that about 41 percent reported cyber dating abuse during the previous three months.So-called cyber dating abuse can involve control, harassment, threats and stalking, the researchers write.It was also tied to less physical self esteem among girls.“We present ourselves in our social networks in a very positive light, which makes sense,” said co-author David Bickham from the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital.Parents should have a similar presence in their children’s online lives as they do in their offline lives, Temple said.If that’s not possible, he said they should at least understand social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Social media use, which was common among the teens, was tied to more evaluations of their bodies and less satisfying sexual experiences.
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”When they see their peers in such a positive way, they can’t help but compare themselves to them.” The study also found that greater access to private Internet use among adolescents and lax rule setting by parents about Internet use was tied to more involvement in sexual online behaviors.
Bickham said that finding is similar to a previous study of his that found kids benefit from having rules of Internet use spelled out by parents.