Who are Online Predators?
As kids, our parents always tell us, “don’t talk to strangers,” and it’s embedded in our minds so we do the same to future generations. Now that children are at risk of interacting with pedophiles on the web, how do adults teach their children to avoid strangers? Children find more comfort within the virtual world than the real world Thus, it is easier for them to trust people in common interest chat rooms. Little do they know that there is a dangerous community on the internet where pedophiles interact with one another.
The gathering of pedophiles enables them to trade ideas on capturing their victims or even teaming up to fulfill their desires. The fact that they have support reassures them that they are not doing anything wrong. The largest forum for them is called Man/Boy Love, and it even has a “How to” section on convincing parents to trust them. With technology advancing, the pedophile web community can grow and become stronger. Also it is imperative to take into consideration that more children and pedophiles are becoming attached to computers and virtual reality. This means that with the technological advances in our society, there also needs to be advances made in the security and protection of computer crimes.
Advantages made Possible by Computers for Predators
- Sharing information about victims with one another
- Direct connection to possible victims with less risk
- Enables them to disguise themselves into anything convincing
- 76% of victims in Net-initiated sexual exploitation cases were 13-15, 75% were girls. "Most cases progressed to sexual encounters" - 93% of the face-to-face meetings involved illegal sex (Journal of Adolescent Health, November 2004).
- In 2006, there were over 600,000 sex offenders registered in the U.S. but 150,000 were lost in the database. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2006).
- Teens are willing to meet with strangers: 16 percent of teens considered meeting someone they've only talked to online and 8 percent have actually met someone they only knew online (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006).
- 4% of child Internet users deal with aggressive offers from predators that affect their real life (receiving presents, money, and phone calls). (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later, 2006).
- 4% of children feel threatened and worried with these encounters. (Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later, 2006).
- 20 percent of students in middle school as well as high school admit that they have met face-to-face with someone they first met on the Internet (Market Wire. November 6, 2006. I-SAFE Inc. December 12, 2006).
Safety Tips for Parents
"Parents are the first line of defense for protecting their own children on the Internet."(Donna Rice Hughes, EIE President)
- Have your computer somewhere in the house that is easily seen by you
- Forbid children to spend time in chat rooms
- Set Internet settings to block instant messaging and chat-rooms
- Just like real life scenarios, discuss dangerous scenarios involving the Internet
- Become familiar with what a child does and who they talk to on line.
Useful Websites for More Tips
- Faulkner, Nancy (2007, August 6.). The Secrecy of Sexual Abuse. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from PANdora's Box Web site: http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/