Children Are Safer on Internet Than Previously Thought

April 06, 2009 10:30 AM
by Kate Davey
A recent study indicates that law enforcement efforts may have had some success in combating online predators who solicit minors.

Are Children Safer Online?

According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC), there was only a slight increase in arrests of adults soliciting juveniles from 2000 to 2006. Arrests rose from 508 to 615. During that same time period, arrests of adults who solicited cops posing as minors online more than quadrupled: from 644 in 2000 to 3,100 in 2006.

The data also shows an overall drop in sex offenses against minors, as well as arrests for such crimes; the CCRC Web site suggest that the rise in arrests for online offense smay stem from an increase in youth Internet use during this time period (from 73 to 93 percent) and increased effort by authorities to monitor online crimes.
CCRC Director David Finkelhor told CBS News that the police’s “sting operations may have played a major role in helping to reduce the number of actual victims by taking predators off the street and deterring others from even trying.”

Related Topic: Vigilante groups pursue online predators is a vigilante group led by Xavier Von Erck. Volunteers pose as minors in chatrooms; if one of them is solicited by an online predator, the organization then works with local police authorities to arrest the individual. They have partnered with several police investigations and attorney general offices, including the Michigan Attorney General's office, and have been instrumental in the arrests of more than 100 online predators. The group has also worked with the “NBC Dateline” series “To Catch a Predator.”

Some critics, including the group run by Scott Morrow, believe that Perverted Justice goes too far, and accuse the group of harassing innocent people. Morrow told The New York Times, ''These are anonymous, unaccountable Net junkies doing this work.” Naturally, Corrupted Justice does not support pedophilia; however, they would prefer the law to deal with online predators, not vigilante groups.

Reference: Do you know what your children are doing online?

In March 2009, findingDulcinea reported on a new study that found kids were online twice as much as their parents thought they were, and that one in five kids has been caught by parents using the Internet in ways that the parents do not condone.

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