Monday, February 18, 2008

'Internet Predator' Stereotypes Debunked

Contrary to stereotype, most Internet sex offenders are not adults who target young children by posing as another youth, luring children to meetings, and then abducting or forcibly raping them, according to researchers who have studied the nature of Internet-initiated sex crimes.

Rather, most online sex offenders are adults who target teens and seduce victims into sexual relationships. They take time to develop the trust and confidence of victims, so that the youth see these relationships as romances or sexual adventures. The youth most vulnerable to online sex offenders have histories of sexual or physical abuse, family problems, and tendencies to take risks both on- and offline, the researchers say. In short, the researchers draw a clearer picture about adults who troll the Internet for sex with minors in the study, “Online ‘Predators’ and Their Victims: Myths, Realities and Implications for Prevention,” published in the February/March issue of American Psychologist. FULL STORY

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