Online Requests to Run Away: Prevalence from a Nationally Representative Sample of Youth

Jennifer E. O’Brien, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Kimberly J. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study explored the prevalence and characteristics of online requests to run away among a nationally representative sample of youth. The three Youth Internet Safety Surveys (YISS-1, YISS-2, and YISS-3) are detailed and structured telephone questionnaires designed to quantify youth experiences with others via the Internet. A total of 4511 youth were surveyed about their online experiences, including receiving a request to run away. Findings reveal that online requests to run away are rare (n = 36) and that the majority of requests to run away came from peers that youth already knew in person. An important implication of the current study is the inclusion of online risks, including being asked to run away via the Internet, as a topic in extant safety trainings for youth. Understanding how such experiences fit into the broader context of peer relationships and interactions is an important next step.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Internet
  • Run away
  • Safety
  • YISS
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Law


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