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New facts about online predators May 8, 2009

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Internet Safety, Survey.

I recently read an article from Switched reporting on a new study from University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. The study deals with data collected from an sample of American law enforcement agencies about crimes by online sex predators during two 12-month periods, in respectively 2000 and 2006.

Here are some of their conclusions based on the study:

  • Arrests of online predators in 2006 constituted about 1 percent of all arrests for sex crimes committed against children and youth.
  • Arrests of online predators increased between 2000 and 2006. Most arrests and the majority of the increase involved offenders who solicited undercover investigators, not actual youth.
  • The internet is not more dangerous than other environments that children and adolescents frequent.
  • Social networking sites are not necessarily dangerous environments (predators are more likely to use online chat rather than SNSs to initiate contact to possible victims).

Read more about the study and the measurements here.

Be aware that the numbers represented may not reflect the full number of crimes committed by online predators, as “many sex crimes against minors never come to the attention of law enforcement”. However, it is safe to say that children are still “most likely to be exploited by acquaintances and family members, rather than strangers on the Internet”, as pointed out in the article from Switched.