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Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/ Legal Issues
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E-mail refers to text-based messages that are sent electronically from one user to another, or to many others. E-mail can carry attachments, including images, movies, and audio recordings.

E-mail is an enormously popular and common method of communication. Fast, easy, and inexpensive, it’s how much personal and business correspondence is handled. E-mail allows children to practice the art of writing, make worldwide pen-pal friends, keep in touch with family, and get help with homework.


  • If your child’s e-mail address is easily accessible, such as on his or her personal Web page, it’s up for grabs by strangers—even potential predators—who can send out inappropriate or harassing anonymous e-mail messages. Unsolicited commercial e-mails, known as “spam,” can carry pornographic image attachments or links to adult Web sites. Some adult-oriented spam is disguised as ordinary e-mail, making it likely that a child will open it. Other spam can automatically transfer users to an adult Web site, even if they don’t click on a link.

  • Children can use their e-mail accounts to sign up on “listservs,” or online mailing lists, that might include sexually explicit images in some of the e-mails that are sent out to listserv members.

  • Parents should know that their children might be using free e-mail accounts outside the home. It's not difficult to set up such accounts.

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