Online Sexual Predators Essay

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Sexual Predators

Online Sexual Predators are a serious threat to society. "One in four U.S. teen girls reported that they met strangers off the Internet. One in seven boys admitted they did as well," ("Internet Predators"). About one-fourth of all children have been "exposed to unwanted pornographic material online," (SentryPC). More importantly, young people are "dying at the hands of their Internet child molesters," ("Internet Predators"). Last month in England, a man who was a serial rapist posed as a young boy on Facebook; he used his profile to lure a 17-year-old girl to her death (Camber). Because violence and death are possible outcomes of an encounter with an internet predator, the criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Even when online sexual predators do not kill their victims, they still pose a serious threat to them. Law defines harassment as a crime (Media Awareness Network). In other words, one does not have to rape or kill the victim to be committing a crime. Only about five percent of all online predators end up committing violence on the people they stalk (Doctorow). However, the act of praying on young people is itself an act of violence. Praying on a young person online, such as by posing as a teenager in order to lure youth, should be treated by the law like planning a rape or murder.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Online Sexual Predators Assignment

It would be foolish to distinguish between those predators who actually violate or kill their pray, and those who stalk them online. Stalking is a highly harmful type of harassment. To stalk someone online is invasive behavior and a violation of the young person's innocence and privacy. The internet predators often speak romantically with the teenager, seducing them, and appealing to their curiosity about sex. Doctorow calls the act of sexual predators "criminal seductions." A young person can ruin their lives by becoming involved with an online sexual predator, even if no sex actually takes place. Some online predators "gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts," (Media Awareness Network). Sexual predators sometimes show pornographic materials or speak in sexually explicit ways when emailing or chatting with their victims.

That is why sexual predation, known as "cyberstalking" is itself a punishable offense (U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, cited by Media Awareness Network). Anyone who even attempts to lure a youth in this way can and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law because it can be assumed that they intended to violate that individual. Web sites like Family Watchdog exist to warn people about sexual predators including those that are lurking on the Internet.

Luring young people online is a serious crime because it is basically the same act as stalking children in the schoolyard or mall. People who underestimate the power of online sexual predators simply do not understand how real cyberspace has become, especially for young people. "Children can be victimized by conversation, whether in a chat room or via email, or by being shown sexually explicit information and material," (Media Awareness Network). Interacting online is as real as interacting in person. In fact, online predators can become more emotionally and psychologically intimate with their victims than predators who only act in person. This is because for a criminal to seduce a child in person, he or she must first get physically close to the child. Getting physically close can be impossible. However, an online predator can sit at a desk anywhere in the world and victimize a child.

Another important reason why sexual predators are serious criminals who should be duly prosecuted is that their victims are highly vulnerable. Even older teenagers do not realize the dangers inherent in developing a relationship online with a sexual predator. The teenager might think that their new "friend" is harmless. A teen might even believe they are falling in love. According to one source, "100% of the children molested by Internet sexual predators went willingly to a meeting. They may have thought they were meeting a cute fourteen-year-old boy or girl," ("Internet Predators"). Some teenagers are interested in dating older people, and those are perhaps the most vulnerable victims. "In the vast majority of cases, it's worth noting, the child victims were teens who knowingly went to meet their older interlocutors intending to have sex," (Sanchez).

Therefore, a sexual predator is nothing more than a statutory rapist. If the law states that minors are "too young to legally consent to sex with an adult," then minors are also too young to understand what dangers lurk inside their computers (Sanchez). For instance, the law protects minors from sexual predatorsvia statutory rape laws. It logically follows that statutory rape laws should extend into the online environment. Statutory rape laws are necessary because a young person has not yet developed the good judgement that would prevent them from doing something stupid like meeting a stranger. The truth is that many young people are friendly and curious about meeting new people. Sexual predators count on their victims being open-minded and friendly.

It has become too easy for an online predator to succeed because the law is not yet strict enough against online predators. The law should aggressively seek out and punish any and all online predators -- not just because of what they might do physically but because of what they are already doing mentally and psychologically to the teenager. Most teenagers are developing a natural curiosity about their sexuality. If a teenager is exposed to an online predator before they understand what they are up against, the encounter can easily lead to severe repercussions. The interaction may impact their overall sexual health, self-esteem and self-image. Older teenagers who develop relationships with online predators may find it difficult to form natural and healthy relationships with people their own age. This is one of the most negative and potentially long-lasting consequences of a sexual predator encounter. The law must intervene to help protect young people.

Teenagers are very vulnerable to predators and should be protected by the law. However, some responsibility for preventing sexual predators does rest with the parents and not the government. Parents should be monitoring their children's internet activity such as by watching who their friends are on Facebook and how they interact with those people. Software that is designed to block certain pornographic websites can also help their children stay out of trouble. If children want to use instant messaging and enter chat rooms, parents should monitor their conversations even if it means upsetting their children. Parents should also know who their children are meeting when they go out. However, there is only so much a parent can do to protect their children. Software can only go so far because it does not prevent a new Facebook "friend" from praying on a child. A parent cannot possibly know everything their child does online, especially as some children access computers at school or at their friends' houses.

In many cases, sexual predators act too fast for parents to even notice or be able to do something. "Many online sexual predators engage in sexually explicit conversations with children immediately," (Media Awareness Network). For example, a teenager could log onto Facebook from school and accept a new friend request from someone who looks cute. That someone could be a sexual predator. An intelligent sexual predator would then chat online with their new victim and say, "Do you want to meet right now outside of school?"

The extent of the problem with sexual predators has been captured on television. "To Catch a Predator" is an NBC/Dateline television show about online predators. The show proves that sexual predators are lurking, and that they are dangerous. Journalists deliberately pose as children to attract the predators lurking online. The… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/online-sexual-predators/4516772.