Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell interviewed on KYW radio.

Villanova, PA, September 14, 2010 — Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, Ph.D., R.N., CRNP, associate professor at Villanova University College of Nursing, was interviewed by reporter Kim Glovas of Philadelphia’s KYW1060 newsradio. She discussed dangers for children on the Internet. Dr. Dowell’s research interests focus on Internet victimization of children, health risk behaviors and vulnerability across the lifespan, victimology, and nursing care of children.

On the side are two clips that aired.

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With school back in session, parents may need to be schooled on what their children are doing on the internet. KYW's Kim Glovas has more.

Risky behavior seems to escalate as high school and middle school students enter social networking sites. That's according to Elizabeth Dowdell, associate professor in Villanova's College of Nursing. She's researched the issue. She says high school students are most at risk, especially of meeting internet strangers.

"A third of the sample who met a stranger off line, something sexual happened, and then for ten percent, they reported a vicitimization. In middle school population, we saw less children meeting strangers off-line, but we also found ten percent reported victimization."

Dowdell says the key to children's safety is parental intervention. She says parents should treat the internet just like teaching a child to drive. There are rules and the child should not be able to get onto the Internet without parents having all the passwords to Facebook or MySpace accounts, cell phones and email

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Starting school may mean students get new "friends" on social networks too. A Villanova researcher says internet safety is getting tougher for parents. KYW's Kim Glovas reports:

Elizabeth Dowdell, an associate professor of Nursing, works with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and has surveyed young people about their Internet habits.

"And what we're seeing more and more of is children, adolescents, college students will post something that they think is funny, but it totally inappropriate, and it’s found, and they'll lose a scholarship, they'll lose a job interview. So these silly thing that kids think they're doing, may have consequences."

Dowdell says where kids used to experiment at the lunchroom, or the playground with insults, bullying and humor, now they use the Internet for that experimental place, and sometimes it can get them into trouble. She urges parents to get passwords to all of their kids’ accounts, and then use them to monitor their behavior.

Audio Clip: Internet Safety Clip 1

Audio Clip: Internet Safety Clip 2