UNICEF: 80 per cent of 18-year-olds see risk of online sexual abuse

Eight out of 10 young adults believe that children and adolescents are at risk of being sexually abused or taken advantage of online and more than half of them think their friends participate in risky online behaviour, according to a UNICEF report.

The poll included more than 10,000 18-year-old participants from 25 countries and showed young adults' awareness of the dangers of online abuse, especially as children make up one-third of internet users globally.

In Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, two-thirds of 18-year-olds strongly believe that children and adolescents are in danger of being sexually abused online. In the Middle East and North Africa, only 33 per cent of those polled said they strongly believed that.

More than 60 per cent of adolescents in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa believed either strongly or somewhat that their friends put themselves at risk online.

In the United States and Britain only 36 per cent of adolescents said their friends engaged in risky behaviour online. In the Middle East and North Africa the figure stood at 40 per cent.

The report found that while recognizing the risks, nearly 90 per cent of responders were also confident in their ability to be safe online - the most confident being 18-year-olds from the US and Britain, 94 per cent of whom said they can avoid online dangers.

"The internet and mobile phones have revolutionized young people’s access to information, but the poll findings show just how real the risk of online abuse is for girls and boys," said Cornelius Williams, UNICEF's associate director of child protection.

Last update: Tue, 07/06/2016 - 11:11

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