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Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/Legal Issues
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Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/Legal Issues

What is Pornography
Where does Pornography come from?
Legal Issues

Pornography and Predator - hand on key board


Although children are far more likely to come across sexually oriented content online than to encounter an online predator, the tragedy that can result from having a child cross paths with a predator makes it imperative that a parent understand this issue.

In the physical world, a predator or child molester is usually someone a parent or child knows—someone who might even be trusted by the family. Online, however, it can be a different story. Predators can use the Internet to seek out children they don’t know. When they succeed in establishing and maintaining contact, the informal nature of the medium itself is partly to blame. The usual caution that kids might exercise away from the computer—walking to school, for example—can gradually erode. By the time a child agrees to meet a predator face to face, he or she no longer thinks of that person as a stranger.

Modus Operandi
Young teens have a real desire to be free of their parents’ authority and to gain acceptance as grown-ups. But teens are also naïve and inexperienced, especially in dealing with adults who have ulterior motives. Sexual predators take advantage of these qualities. They manipulate kids in an effort to gain trust, which they use to gradually turn seemingly innocent online relationships into real-life sexual interactions.

A predator usually approaches a child target through initially harmless chat room or instant-message dialogue. Over time—perhaps weeks or even months—the stranger, having obtained as much personal information as possible, grooms the child, gaining his or her trust through compliments, positive statements, and other forms of flattery to build an emotional bond.

As the child begins to respond to and bond with this person, conversations become more personal. Some predators also pass along sexually explicit images of children to suggest to the targeted child that it’s normal for kids to be involved in sexual activities. From there it could be a short distance to a face-to-face meeting.

Defense Mechanisms
To protect your children from online predators, give them sound guidelines about contacting others on the Web, including rules on how to protect their personal information. And just as we were taught never to accept rides from strangers, today’s kids should be instructed never to meet anyone they encounter online without your approval.

If you suspect that your child has experienced something inappropriate with someone online or is currently communicating with a potential predator, it’s very important that you reach out in a calm and nonjudgmental way. Your child might be feeling guilty or even frightened; he or she needs to feel free to talk to you. Get information on what happened, and then report the incident.

If a predator somehow gets a hold of your phone number or address and begins harassing your child offline, contact your local law-enforcement agency or the FBI immediately.

For additional sources of information on how sexual predators operate and on signs that your child might be having problems, go to Helpful Links.

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