Published on National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) (http://nsvrc.org)
Home > Online “Predators” and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment
Online “Predators” and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment
This article summarizes current research on online sexual victimization and compares it to media accounts. The finding in the article reveal that contrary to stereotype, most internet sex offenders are not adults who target young children by posing as another youth, luring children to meetings, and then abducting or forcibly raping them. Rather, most online sex offenders are young adults who target teens and seduce victims into sexual relationships. They take time to develop the trust and confidence of victims, so that the youth see these relationships as romances or sexual adventures. They recommend that prevention efforts with adolescents be targeted, age-appropriate, and include frank discussions of sexuality and the hazards of relationships with older people.