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Hi all.

You all know I have been concerned for a long time that the current
fear-mongering about the Internet is not research-based and is not grounded
in effective risk prevention techniques. The researchers at the Crimes
Against children Research Center have just released a study that validates
this. Here is the summary:

The publicity about online ≥predators≤ who prey on naive children using
trickery and violence is largely inaccurate. Internet sex crimes involving
adults and juveniles more often fit a model of statutory rapečadult
offenders who meet, develop relationships with, and openly seduce under-age
teenagersčthan a model of forcible sexual assault or pedophilic child
molesting. This is a serious problem, but one that requires approaches
different from those in current prevention messages emphasizing parental
control and the dangers of divulging personal information. Developmentally
appropriate prevention strategies that target youths directly and
acknowledge normal adolescent interests in romance and sex are needed. These
should provide younger adolescents with awareness and avoidance skills while
educating older youths about the pitfalls of sexual relationships with
adults and their criminal nature. Particular attention should be paid to
higher risk youths, including those with histories of sexual abuse, sexual
orientation concerns, and patterns of off- and online risk taking. Mental
health practitioners need information about the dynamics of this problem and
the characteristics of victims and offenders because they are likely to
encounter related issues in a variety of contexts.

Press release:

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs office or

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)

Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)

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