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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Jan;163(1):35-41. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.502.

Reducing at-risk adolescents' display of risk behavior on a social networking web site: a randomized controlled pilot intervention trial.

Author information

1
MSEd, Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 600 Highland Ave, CSC H4/444, Madison, WI 53792, USA. mamoreno@pediatrics.wisc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether an online intervention reduces references to sex and substance abuse on social networking Web sites among at-risk adolescents.

DESIGN:

Randomized controlled intervention trial.

SETTING:

www.MySpace.com.

PARTICIPANTS:

Self-described 18- to 20-year-olds with public MySpace profiles who met our criteria for being at risk (N = 190). Intervention Single physician e-mail.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Web profiles were evaluated for references to sex and substance use and for security settings before and 3 months after the intervention.

RESULTS:

Of 190 subjects, 58.4% were male. At baseline, 54.2% of subjects referenced sex and 85.3% referenced substance use on their social networking site profiles. The proportion of profiles in which references decreased to 0 was 13.7% in the intervention group vs 5.3% in the control group for sex (P = .05) and 26.0% vs 22% for substance use (P = .61). The proportion of profiles set to "private" at follow-up was 10.5% in the intervention group and 7.4% in the control group (P = .45). The proportion of profiles in which any of these 3 protective changes were made was 42.1% in the intervention group and 29.5% in the control group (P = .07).

CONCLUSIONS:

A brief e-mail intervention using social networking sites shows promise in reducing sexual references in the online profiles of at-risk adolescents. Further study should assess how adolescents view different risk behavior disclosures to promote safe use of the Internet.

PMID:
19124701
DOI:
10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.502
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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