The numbers were highest among non-whites (between 37 percent and 44 percent), those dating more than one person (61 percent), and bisexuals (56 percent).The most common types of abuse were stalking (repeatedly contacting a person to ask what he or she was doing or whom he or she was with) and making mean and hurtful comments.And online dating can make it more difficult to weed out the "undesirables." Fein and Schneider counsel many women who become involved in "fantasy relationships" that never materialize.
Cyber dating articles
The findings were based on surveys of teens who visited northern California school health clinics, and don't hint at how common this kind of abuse among teens is overall.
But the study does suggest that females, non-whites and bisexuals are most vulnerable.
Remember the scene in Bridget Jones' Diary when Bridget (Rene Zellweger) gets lured into sexually charged email banter initiated by her boss (Hugh Grant)?
Conducting e-relationships can be tricky because, as Bridget found out, email often allows people to become too casual too fast.
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"These are teens that are seeking health care, which we know is a group of youth who tend to have riskier health behaviors," she explained.
Brian Mustanski, an associate professor with the department of medical social sciences at Northwestern University who studies bullying, noted that almost one in three teens said they were asked to send nude or seminude pictures of themselves.
17 and will appear in the December print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Fein and Schneider say email is just like a phone call if it leads to a date. For one thing, it's very easy to be seduced by the informality of email or instant messaging.
"Little white lies" on someone's profile may be harmless, but there are some creeps trolling the online dating services.