Online Predators

Online predators come in all shapes and sizes and they can and will prey on anyone. The reason for which they prey on innocent poeple is up to them, some could find it fun while others are looking for quick and easy. Online victimization of minors can include child grooming, requests to engage in sexual activities or discussions by an adult, unwanted exposure to sexual material (email with naked pictures, etc.), and online harassment, threats or other aggressive communications that are not sexual in nature but cause distress, fear or embarrassment.

Chat rooms, instant messaging, Internet forums, social networking sites, and even video game consoles have all been accused of attracting online predators. A 2007 study, however, found no cases of minors being targeted by Internet predators on the basis of information they had posted on social networking sites.

Software that attempts to monitor computer activity has seen some popularity with parents concerned about Internet predators. Many experts recommend talking to children and teens about online safety.

There are many organizations that fight against online predators. During 2006 and 2007, the American news-magazine Dateline came out with To Catch a Predator. What began as a single episode turned into a long running and explosively popular continuation of the concept that lasted for several months, and prompted a national dialogue on internet safety for preteens and adolescents. With the participation of vigilantes by the name of Perverted-Justice.com, would-be child abusers were lured to numerous residential homes throughout the US under the ruse of having sex with a young boy or girl.

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