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Systematic Review of Effective Youth Prevention Education: Implications for Internet Safety Education

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2014
13 pages
One of two bulletins based on findings from the 2012 study, "The Evaluation of Internet Child Safety Materials Used by ICAC Task Forces in School and Community Settings," this bulletin reports on a process evaluation of the current approach to internet safety education, and recommendations are proposed for future prevention efforts in this area.
The central finding of this study is that active, focused, skill-based lessons that address causal and risk factors identified by research and delivered with an adequate dosage are the most effective education techniques in helping youth retain knowledge and change behaviors, whether in the context of drug abuse prevention or safe internet use. This review of meta-analyses of various types of preventive safety programs for youth found that the aforementioned approach was effective across different groups of youth and various types of problems being addressed in the education program. Thus far, typical internet safety education programs have focused on a variety of potential online problems, such as cyber-bullying, risky online romantic relationships or contacts with adults, digital reputations, and avoiding cyber-scams; however, these problem areas are all likely to have different causal and risk factors, which may require different educational and preventive approaches. Internet safety education developers should consider combining forces with traditional offline programs that target similar problems; for example, existing bullying programs could add information on cyber-bullying, and sexual education programs could add information on online relationships. Such combinations would focus on addressing similar causal and risk factors. 59 references

Date Published: December 1, 2014