Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Online predators not distinctively dangerous sex offenders

Date:
August 6, 2013
Source:
University of New Hampshire
Summary:
A new study challenges the view that online predators are a distinctly dangerous variety of sex offender, requiring special programs to protect youth.

A new University of New Hampshire study challenges the view that online predators are a distinctly dangerous variety of sex offender, requiring special programs to protect youth.

The study from the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center finds that sex offenders who target teens increasingly use Internet and cell phone communications to lure teens into sexual relationships. In crimes that involve such communications, offenders who meet and recruit youth online operate in much the same way as offenders who meet and know youth in ordinary offline environments.

"These are all serious crimes," said lead author Janis Wolak, a senior researcher at the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center. "But the so-called 'online predators' are not more insidious."

The research results are presented in the Journal of Adolescent Health in the article "Are Crimes by Online Predators Different From Crimes by Sex Offenders Who Know Youth In-Person?" authored by Wolak and David Finkelhor, professor and director of the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center.

The study compared 143 cases where sex offenders met underage victims online with 139 cases where offenders knew victims in offline capacities, such as through their schools, families, churches or neighborhoods. All of the offenders used the Internet or cell phones to communicate with victims. The incidents came from a national sample of law enforcement cases in which offenders were arrested for Internet-related sex crimes. Details about the cases were provided by police investigators.

The majority of cases in both groups involved illegal sexual activity with underage youth, or statutory rape. Both groups involved a common dynamic: adult men who used online communications to seduce and manipulate teens, mostly girls, into sexual relationships. Many offenders also solicited sexual images from victims. However, force, abduction and even identity deception were rare.

"We should stop emphasizing the dangers of online strangers. We should start teaching children and adolescents to understand and resist sexual advances from adults, whether met online or in-person and whether made through online communications or in-person. That would do more to protect young people," Wolak said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Janis Wolak, David Finkelhor. Are Crimes by Online Predators Different From Crimes by Sex Offenders Who Know Youth In-Person? Journal of Adolescent Health, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.06.010

Cite This Page:

University of New Hampshire. "Online predators not distinctively dangerous sex offenders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806111013.htm>.
University of New Hampshire. (2013, August 6). Online predators not distinctively dangerous sex offenders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806111013.htm
University of New Hampshire. "Online predators not distinctively dangerous sex offenders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806111013.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins