Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Sexual solicitation of youth on the internet has declined

Many parents worry about allowing their children to freely go online out of fear that they may be targeted by sexual predators. While this is a valid concern and parents should always monitor their children's internet activity, a recent study from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) reveals that the prevalence of this kind of behavior has declined since 2005.

Authors of the study said that about 9 percent of kids reported being solicited for sex online, compared to 13 percent in 2005. Additionally, the number of children who were sent unwanted pornography went from 34 percent to 23 percent during that time period.

The researchers attributed lower rates of predatory behavior on the web to media reports about the dangers that minors face online.

"The arrests, the publicity and the education may have tamped down the sexual soliciting online" said author Kimberly Mitchell, research assistant professor of psychology at the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center. "The more effective safety and screening features incorporated into websites and networks may have helped reduce the unwanted encounters with pornography."