Internet Sex Predators Not So Prevalent

Is the Internet really filled with pedophilic sexual predators lurking in a social network or chat room near your child? Not necessarily, according to 3 nationwide surveys done by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The first two surveys consisted of responses from 3,000 teens who use the Internet in 2000, and again in 2005. The third involved 612 interviews with investigators at a “nationally representative sample of agencies that deal with Internet sex crimes involving children,” according to McClatchy. They found, among other things, that the Internet had not driven up child sex crime rates (in fact, sexual assaults on teenagers fell 52 percent from 1993 to 2005), and that the majority of Internet-related sex crimes involved consensual sex with adolescents rather than “abduction” or “luring” of prepubescent children. To read the full text of the article, go here.


Dean Shareski

As an educator trying to help students understand how to live effectively in a digital world, this research is important. I posted about it recently on my blog.
http://ideasandthoughts.org/2008/02/24/im-telling-you-for-the-last-time/

helen

it amazes me when news reports mention myspace and similar sites being off-limits to pedophiles. as anyone who has an account there knows, there is no verification system for one's age, name, location or anything else. i don't advocate such a verification system, i'm just saying.....

GS

I can't wait until researchers finally determine that the only people that talk in internet chat rooms are potential pedophiles and watchdog groups pretending to be young teens.

All the young teens I know just text message and post wall comments/photos on Facebook.....

puranjoy

@Helen,
Myspace and Facebook don't need the verification, because the teenagers there interact mostly with people already known to them in some way.

jeffrey

Common sense prevails- while a person is in their home in front of their computer they can not be assaulted by a non family member, except in the case of a home invasion. Today's teens spend much more time in their homes that we who were raised in the 70s. There may be people attempting to get to these computer tethered teens, but they do not have the access to carry out their desires.

My parents who are in their 60's are constantly sharing their worries regarding my kids being on the computer, and I have always told them that in my house is the safest place they can be.

Troy

I'd say that the data they used is a bit misleading. For example: there were only 6,594 arrests for statutory rape in 2000. Internet-initiated sex crimes only accounted for 7% of those arrests, 95% of which were nonforcible. First, notice that the data is 8 years old. Not only that, but there's the obvious flaw of non-reported statutory rape, which I can imagine is quite a bit more than 6,500 cases a year.