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Doubts About Whether Internet Filters Protect Teenagers Online

A girl on her computer.

A new study casts doubt on whether technologies such as Internet filtering shield young teenagers, after finding no link between homes with Internet filters and the likelihood of the teenagers in those households being better protected.

Credit: University of Oxford

Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University in the U.K. analyzed data from the U.K. Office of Communications (Ofcom) based on 1,030 interviews in the homes of 515 teenagers and their parents about whether they used technical tools to control or manage access to online content.

The researchers found about 14% of the teenagers interviewed reported they had at least one significant negative experience online in the past year, while 8% said they had been contacted by someone online who they did not know and wanted to be their friend.

In addition, the survey found 66% of parents said they did not use Internet filters, indicating the use of Internet filtering did not appear to mitigate the risk of young people having unpleasant online experiences and the technical ability to circumvent these filters had no effect on the likelihood of such experiences.

From University of Oxford
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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