It is an important issue to cover but, unfortunately, I am not surprised to see a report covered with a BBC headline "More girls than boys exposed to harmful content online."
Teenage girls are more likely to be asked for nude photos online or be sent pornography or content promoting self-harm than boys, a report has found. The report is based on survey responses from around 6,500 young people, and they found that girls are "much more likely to experience something nasty or unpleasant online."
YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and TikTok were the most popular social media sites for both age groups, but more than three-quarters of 14-18-year-olds also used Instagram.
Many respondents reported spending significant amounts of time online. For instance, a third of 14-18-year-olds reported spending four hours or more online during a school day. Almost two-thirds reported spending more than four hours online at weekends. One in five 14-18-year-olds said they spent more than seven hours a day online on weekends.
One example is that one in five children and young people who took part in the research said something nasty or unpleasant had recently happened to them online. The most common experience was that "mean or nasty comments" were made about them or sent to them. But there was a difference between boys and girls when it came to the type of nasty online experience they had. Girls were more likely to have mean or nasty comments made about them or rumors spread about them.
More than 5% of girls aged 14-18 said they had been asked to send nude photos or videos online or expose themselves, three times higher than the rate among boys. More than 5% of 14-18 year-old girls also said they had seen or been sent pornography, and twice as many girls as boys reported being sent "inappropriate photos" they had not asked for. More girls than boys also reported being sent content promoting suicide, eating disorders and self-harm.
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