The impulse-driven and wild-West environment of social networking sites encourages pre-adolescents and adolescents to “publicly display references to behaviors that are both personal and associated with health risks, such as sexual behaviors.” This article, Reducing At-Risk Adolescents’ Display of Risk Behavior on a Social Networking Web Site, published in the January 2009 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is a riveting journal article.
Of interest to parents, the article reports how a physician researched at-risk behavior concerning sex or substance abuse openly posted by teenagers on social networking sites. Although it contains some complex statistics and research language, the article is available free for downloading and worth the time it takes to read.
A pediatrician, at the time of the research from the University of Washington Medical School, Megan A. Moreno, MD, M.S.Ed, MPH (Dr. Meg), identified public adolescent social networking profiles that featured risky behavior. She wondered whether hearing directly from a physician via e-mail about risky behaviors depicted on the social networking sites might influence how the young people represented themselves on-line and might perhaps encourage them to make healthy changes in their profiles.