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Kids who spoke to unknown people online, had unfamiliar people on their buddy lists, freely talked about sex with strangers online, looked for pornographic material on the Internet, or who were routinely "rude or nasty" while online were found to be at greater risk.Young Web users with three or four of these characteristics were 5 to 11 times more likely to be victimized, the report concluded.
Most are "patient enough to develop relationships with victims and savvy enough to move those relationships forward," the report said.
"A close perusal of media stories suggests that online molesters have not changed their tactics as a result of the advent of social networking sites," according to a report from the University of New Hampshire's Internet Solution for Kids, Inc.
that will be published in the February/March issue of American Psychologist.
Children who have a history of sexual or physical abuse, are dealing with family problems or have a history of risk-taking behavior are also more likely to be drawn into questionable scenarios with online predators, the study said.
Girls were more likely to be victimized than boys, though gay boys or those who were confused about their sexuality were also susceptible to predators, the study said. On the whole, offenders are a "diverse group that cannot be accurately characterized with one-dimensional labels," the report said.
Instead, teens are more likely to be targeted by predators via chat rooms and instant messages.