The research now about victimisation on the Internet turns out to be vastly different from what is reported in the media. This is leading me to believe South Africa needs to investigate heavily in researching the impact of Internet and mobile phones on young children and teenagers. So many assumptions are turning out to be false. Here’s a short transcript followed by a video clip of the proceedings. Double click on the video below to gain access to Youtube and the 9 videos in total. You may also want to visit the Youth Online 2007 page for mp3 audio version, and additional resources of these proceedings.

But actually, the research in the cases that we’ve gleaned from actual law enforcement files, for example, suggests a different reality for these crimes. So first fact is that the predominant online sex crime victims are not young children. They are teenagers. There’s almost no victims in the sample that we collected from – a representative sample of law enforcement cases that involved the child under the age of 13.

In the predominant sex crime scenario, doesn’t involve violence, stranger molesters posing online as other children in order to set up an abduction or assault. Only five percent of these cases actually involved violence. Only three percent involved an abduction. It’s also interesting that deception does not seem to be a major factor. Only five percent of the offenders concealed the fact that they were adults from their victims. Eighty percent were quite explicit about their sexual intentions with the youth that they were communicating with.

So these are not mostly violence sex crimes, but they are criminal seductions that take advantage of teenage, common teenage vulnerabilities. The offenders lure teens after weeks of conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance, adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to encounters that the teams know are sexual in nature with people who are considerably older than themselves.

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