Online Sexual Predators

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Online Sexual Predators
The internet is one of the most important technological advancements of the 21st century and its increasing effects can be easily observed. Most of the consequences of the Internet have been beneficial and created a whole new realm for means of communication. The internet has allowed people from all over the world to communicate and exchange information in the blink of an eye opening up a virtual world for us to live in. With all these people communicating online through forums, social networks, chat rooms, and other endless ways, it is become impossible to determine who is who. There is no answer to this simple question because through the internet people are living multiple lives. It sounds very appealing to live one life in the real world, yet live a polar opposite life online that usually compensates for the first life. Just like in the real world, we have the “bad guys” who exist in the virtual world as well. There are a variety of criminals and frauds online but one of the types of “bad guys” that are rampant throughout the internet are sexual predators and pedophiles.

Sexual activity had greatly increased after the internet came about allowing easy access to pornography and other explicit web sites. This rise has sprung about many online sexual predators as well. A sexual predator refers to a person who is trying to make sexual contact with another person in any manner. The reason they are called predators, similar to real predators, is that they try to hunt down people for sex usually online. Keep in mind that this is different from a sex offender who has actually offended someone sexually. A sexual predator will just try to seek out sexual situations, for example when a man goes to a bar trying to get consensual sex from adult females. Sexual predators are very common on the internet. This should be obvious since that is where mass and easy communication takes place between the world, and it is easy to find prey for them. A pedophile is a kind of sexual predator who specifically target and sexually abuse younger children. “Pedophiles are trying to eliminate the word “pedophile” and replace it with the more positive terms “boy lover,” “girl lover,” or the all-inclusive “child lover.” These values-neutral terms suggest that pedophiles don’t want to have sex with kids, they merely want to love them.” (Internet Sexual Predators: The New War is Words) This claim is false since most predators physically abuse these kids and leave them emotionally scarred for life. That is the opposite definition of “loving!”

Sexual predators are widespread on the internet and seem like normal people when you meet them. With our youth today using social networks such as MySpace or Facebook or even chat rooms such as MSN or AIM, it is very common that you will run across a sexual predator online without even knowing. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, “One in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet say they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. Also, 25% of children have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material online.” (Online Child Predator Statistics 2005) More than two thirds of the sexual predators usually tend to target teenagers above age 14 more than younger children. It is said that about 1 out of every 7 youth are threatened by sexual predators online. Most predators will actually admit to their crime as we will see when we do all the case studies. Not to mention, the victims claim to have talked to or even see the predators beforehand. Sexual predators will usually try to find their victims through other people they know. Half of the time, children who are under age 6 are assaulted by family members. These victims who are assaulted by their own family members are less likely to report the crime causing and increasing fear of more unknown predators.

The internet houses a whole group of sexual predators, but the house is never...
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