CT Clearinghouse

Internet Safety

While online computer use opens a world of possibilities for children, they can also be exposed to dangers as they explore the information highway.

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While online computer use opens a world of possibilities for children, they can also be exposed to dangers as they explore the information highway.  There are many individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children through the use of the Internet, and a computer sex offender can be of any age or gender.  Some may gradually seduce their targets through attention, affection, kindness and gifts.  These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money and energy in this process.  They are aware of the latest music, hobbies and interests of children, and listen to and empathize with their problems.  These individuals attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual content into their conversations.

There are other offenders who immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children.  Some of them primarily collect and trade child pornographic images, while others seek face-to-face meetings.  It is important for parents and caregivers to know that children can be indirectly victimized through chat rooms, as well as by the transfer of sexually explicit materials.  Computer sex offenders may also be evaluating children for future face-to-face contact and direct victimization. 

Children and adolescents may be interested in, and curious about, sexuality and sexually explicit material.  Sex offenders targeting children will use and exploit these characteristics and needs.  Some adolescents may be attracted to and lured by offenders closer to their age who may also be very dangerous.  They may be seduced and manipulated by a clever offender without fully understanding or recognizing the potential danger of such contact.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation