A new study released by the Girl Scouts Research Institute reveals the shocking news that there is a great deal of disconnect between the online profiles teen girls post and their real selves.

The report tells us basically what we would expect, that teen girls tend to play up personality traits that are considered more “cool” by their age group when they are representing themselves online, though these specific traits are not as bad as one might think. The top traits showcased online are being fun, funny, and social. Offline, girls from the survey responded that they are more likely to say smart, kind, and a good influence.

One rather amusing stat that emerges from the study is that nearly 74 percent of respondents believe that other girls use social networking profiles to make themselves “cooler than they really are,” which shows us that as fast as technology is changing youth and the environment in which they grow up, the problem steadfastly remains “other kids.”

Another stat that stood out to me was that a full 68 percent of the girls surveyed admitted to having a bad experience on a social networking site. Now, this is likely the result of a fairly open-ended question, as “bad experience” can range from getting bullied to clicking a spam link, but that is still a very high number. I continue to urge parents to treat social networking profiles as a privilege and only allow them once the child is truly ready. Of course, parents should also monitor their children’s social networking profiles as well.