Image retrieved from Paper Masters
With today’s technology it is not uncommon to meet new people over the internet. There are many sites developed to meet people, such as dating sites, chat rooms, social networking sites, and many others. These sites may make it a lot easier to meet people, but who really is the person you are talking to? Most of the time these sites seem safe and you only hear bad things that occur from them every once in a while. Now as an adult if I am aware of my surroundings both in the physical and virtual world. If someone I do not know tries to start a conversation with me via a social media site I typically will not respond. Now when I was younger it was a different story when chat rooms were a big thing to be a part of. Even with the popularity of them I stayed away from chat rooms, but had quite a few friends who did. Chat rooms have never really had a respectable following which being a criminal justice major I can see why that is.
Typically with chat rooms you don’t know who the other person is, you just know their screen name. This is a common way for pedophiles to meet their victims. Social sites according to Taylor et al. (2015), “provide a way for pedophiles to come together to validate their sexual interests, share information about their habits, and find support for their behaviors” (197). Cases that involve pedophiles meeting under aged children over chat rooms go unnoticed by the parents until it is too late. When it comes to arresting the pedophiles, police investigators do a really good job at creating false chat room profiles that are most often portraying young girls. One of the reasons police investigators often disguise themselves as young girls, is because they are “targeted at almost twice the rate of boys” (Taylor et al, 2015, p. 180). Even though it is great that police officials are cracking down on pedophiles in chat rooms, the job can be real daunting. According to an article by NBC News, FBI agents who are specialized in online pedophilia stated “that they can get discouraged by the volume of images and the number of people who appear eager to see them. Bradley, the FBI supervisor, estimated that 80 percent of the customers for child pornography are in the United States.” Chat room pedophiles are not only in the United States, but they are located all over the world.
In London, England a few years back a pedophile was busted and thirty-one kids were rescued as a result. According to D’Arcy Doran, who writes for U-T San Diego, reported that a “team of international investigators infiltrated an Internet chat room used by pedophiles who streamed live videos of children being raped, rescuing 31 children and identifying more than 700 suspects worldwide.” Seeing cases like what was discovered in London are real disheartening to know people are doing this to innocent children. Luckily there are state and federal legislature that deals with pedophiles. The Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act of 1998 was passed and it “prohibits the transfer of obscene material to minors, and increases penalties for offenses against children and for repeat offenders” (Taylor et al., 2015, p. 189). With laws like this, it is good to know that pedophiles who some children meet on chat rooms or other social networking sites get rightly punished and hopefully serve time for their crimes.
Chat rooms help FBI hunt for pedophiles. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12796965/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/chat-rooms-help-fbi-hunt-pedophiles/#.VhbIIHpViko
Doran, D. (2007, June 19). Pedophile chat room busted; 31 kids rescued. U-T San Diego. Retrieved from http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070619/news_1n19ring.html
Taylor, R., Fritsch, E., & Liederbach, J. (2015). Sex crimes, victimization, and obscenity on the world wide web. In Digital crime and digital terrorism (Third e., pp. 175-218). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.