Research

Exposure of children to abuse via the Internet

On the sample of 4,000 children, Child protection center of Zagreb and Brave Phone – help line for abused and neglected children conducted research into their experience with the Internet use. The main objective of this research was to identify the exposure of children to inappropriate sexual content on the Internet, investigate into how they come to be exposed to the content and investigate into children’s’ reactions.

The data obtained by the research indicate that the children who use the Internet more intensively, and whose activities are oriented to searching on the Internet are more at risk for exposure to inappropriate sexual content. Furthermore, disturbing percentage of children use the Interned without their parents’ or other adults’ supervision. Research results show that the experience of children in Croatia in receiving inappropriate and pornographic content via e-mail messages and their emotional reactions are similar to results obtained by American research.

Research results highlight the necessity of further education of children and parents about the possibilities offered by the Internet as well as dangers for and self-protection of children who use the computer and the Internet, which is within the scope of this research project objectives.

Further research will be focused on detailed investigation into the risks and forms of abuse to which a child can be exposed while using the Internet and to identifying the risk groups of children.

Within this project, the following papers have been published and presented:

• Profaca, B., Ćosić, I. (2005): Child and Internet Risks. List of topics for class lessons (ed. Bilić, V.), Naklada Ljevak, Zagreb

• Ćosić, I. (2005). Results presentation on research into the experience of children who use the Internet; Regional conference „Dangers of paedophilia”, Human rights office, Zagreb

• Krmek, M., Buljan Flander, G., Hrpka, H. (2006): Bullying via the Internet, Scientific and professional symposium „Psychology of violence and maltreatment“, Osijek

• Hrpka, H., Krmek, M., Buljan Flander, G. (2006): Results of the research into experience of children who use the Internet, Scientific and professional symposium „Psychology of violence and maltreatment“, Osijek

• Krmek, M., Škrlec, N., Buljan Flander, G. (2007): Abuse via the modern communication media, the Internet and mobile phones, 9. CARNet’s users conference, Rijeka

• Hrpka, H., Buljan Flander, G., Crnogorac N., (2007): Prevention of the abuse inflicted via the Internet, 15. Annual conference of Croatian psychologists, Cavtat