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Wolak, J., Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D. (2003). Escaping or connecting? Characteristics of youth who form close online relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 26, 105-119.

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A survey was conducted, first of the parents of children between 10 and 17, then of the children if the parents gave permission. The first question asked, “Have you had a close friendship with someone you met on the Internet who you didn’t know in person? I mean someone you could talk online with about things that were real important to you?” The second one asked, “Have you had a romantic online relationship with someone you met on the Internet? I mean someone who felt like a boyfriend or girlfriend.” If the child answered "yes" to either question, he or she was considered to have established a close online relationship. The study found that girls of high school age with high level of internet access were most likely to form close online relationships.