It is still a crime," said Finkelhor. This is not consistent with research; disclosures often unfold gradually and may be presented in a series of hints. Of all professionals, teachers are the most likely to be told. Of all other family members, mothers are most likely to be told.
The research was compiled from three surveys -- two telephone interviews totaling 3, young Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 conducted both in and and interviews in and with federal, state and local law enforcement officials who have expertise in investigating Internet-initiated sex crimes. Despite some skepticism of reporting methods by various agencies, declines in child physical and sexual abuse since the s, as reported to National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System NCANDS , reflect a true decline in prevalence. Few disclose abuse to authorities or professionals. Current research, however, lacks systematic evidence that false allegations are common. The same conclusion was reached recently in a study by one of the researchers of this latest article; that earlier work appeared in the February issue of Pediatrics. The data revealed almost 75 percent of victims who met sex offenders in person did so more than once. The investigators identified several behaviors that appear to make teens more likely to receive sexual contact from predators, including placing people they didn't know on their instant messaging buddy lists, talking about sex online with strangers, and engaging in rude or nasty chats online. Of all other family members, mothers are most likely to be told. Of all professionals, teachers are the most likely to be told. The adult should know that having sexual relationships with young teenagers is against the law, but they go ahead and do it. As such, they often delay disclosure until adulthood. The study indicates MySpace and Facebook, social networking Web sites popular with teens, do not appear to increase the risk of adolescents being victimized by sexual predators. But teens think they are immortal, and it is important for parents to keep the lines of communication open and for youngsters to realize predators are out there," said Allen. Instead, talking online about sex to strangers in chat rooms or with instant messaging heightened the risk of exposure to sex offenders. According to study co-author David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, most arrested sex offenders who find victims on the Internet are charged with crimes such as statutory rape that involve nonviolent sexual relations with adolescents too young to consent to sexual intercourse. Historically, professionals promoted the idea that children frequently report false accounts of abuse. That doesn't make it a less serious problem, because the teenagers may in some ways contribute to the situation. This is not consistent with research; disclosures often unfold gradually and may be presented in a series of hints. There has certainly been plenty of statutory sex offenses going on before the popularity of the Internet, and it may have migrated to the Web, because that's where people are. Mitchell, and Michele L. Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment. Most offenders told the victims that they were older males seeking sexual relations. It is still a crime," said Finkelhor. The teens are often looking for attention, affection, excitement and romance. The teens most vulnerable to online sex offenders are more likely to be risk takers and to have histories of sexual or physical abuse and family problems. Some men even feel societal pressure to be proud of early sexual activity, regardless of whether it was unwanted. The research team found that online sexual predators rarely resorted to violence or abduction of their victims.
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