Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations

As Internet use by children and teenagers increases, so do concerns about their online safety. Providing a safe environment requires an in-depth understanding of the types and prevalence of online risks young Internet users face, as well as the potential solutions for mitigating risks.

Despite the significant amount of research on these risks, improving child/youth Internet safety remains a challenge. In part, this is because definitions of terms and categories relevant to online safety (such as “cyberbullying”) often vary, making the comparison of statistics and findings among sources imprecise. In addition, there are complex overlaps among different online safety subtopics.

Overall, these factors can make identifying the specific gaps in existing research and knowledge difficult. If these gaps can be better identified and filled, a data-based understanding of issues facing youth could play a key role in driving policy decisions regarding online safety.

In this paper, Adina Farrukh, Rebecca Sadwick and John Villasenor provide:

  1. an overview of existing online safety research across a wide range of categories
  2. an analysis of major findings
  3. an identification of knowledge gaps, and
  4. a set of recommendations for specific areas of research that can further the policy dialog regarding online safety