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Chat rooms, social media, file sharing, and mobile apps have become extremely popular for children in today’s society. Unfortunately, this technology can be dangerous to children, either through their own actions or their interactions with others. The internet has created a virtual playground that has allowed individuals to hide their true identity while gaining access to a variety of personal information. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to harass, threaten or intimidate children, further putting them at risk.
The 2010 Youth Internet Safety Survey (YISS) conducted by The Crimes Against Children Research Center revealed that 97% of children ages 10-17 were using the internet from home and 47% of youth were using the internet from their cell phones.
Child pornography is created worldwide and is readily available on the Internet to those who actively seek it. Anyone can purchase a computer, gain Internet access and immediately begin collecting and distributing child pornography. Once a pedophile possesses this contraband, he/she can quickly contact children through social media accounts and chat rooms.
The scope of this problem is significant: the research center also found that in 2010 approximately 1 in every 11 children using the internet received an unwanted sexual solicitation.
Over time, these pedophiles gather personal information from their intended victims and, in the worst cases, may go to great lengths and expense to meet their victims face-to-face. These meetings often result in kidnapping and sexual assault. New child pornography is generated frequently from these assaults, repeating this destructive cycle.