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1 in 4 kids sexually harassed by friends online

EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s not just strangers who target children online. Kids’ own friends are sexually harassing them over the Internet, finds new research led by a Michigan State University cybercrime expert.

About 1 in 4 children said they were pressured by their friends online to talk about sex when they didn’t want to, according to the study of 439 middle- and high-school students aged 12 to 16.

“This is not to downplay the danger of pedophiles acting online, but it does draw attention to the potential threat of child sexual victimization by the people our kids are closest to, the people they spend the greatest amount of time with online,” said Thomas J. Holt, MSU associate professor of criminal justice.

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