The prevalence of sexual victimization of children in the United States is overwhelming, yet largely unrecognized and underreported. Popular social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, and Sconex encourage teens to post and share personal information and pictures, making them potentially vulnerable to online predators. Teenage girls are particularly at risk — a recent study found of the approximately one in seven youth who received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet, 70% were girls.

Key Facts About Young Teen Girls & the Internet:

— Young girls are online more than three hours a day and may try to hide
their online activities from parents and guardians.
— The majority of time online is spent on social networking sites, such
as MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, and Sconex (a high school-only site).
— Teen girls are more vulnerable to potential dangers than their male
peers as they are more likely to be asked personal information by
someone they have never met. (Source: COX Communications)
— Teen girls are also more likely to respond to messages from people they
don’t know; and more likely to befriend people they don’t know.
(Source: COX Communications)
— Nationwide survey of teenage girls ages 14 to 18 conducted earlier this
year found that when asked if someone they’ve met online has wanted to
meet them in person, 58% said “yes”

In a continuing effort to prevent sexual exploitation over the Internet, the Ad Council has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to create a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness about the prevalence of online sexual exploitation and to educate teens and their parents/guardians on how to help protect themselves from victimization.