Is the Online World More Dangerous Than the
Real World? – Myth vs. Fact is a new
information sheet I recently created. Among the online myths addressed in this, is
the belief that online predators lure children by impersonating other
Child predators are moving to the Internet to exploit children by pretending
they are children.
Fact: In 95% of Internet-initiated sex crimes against minors, the
children knew the perpetrators were adults. (Crimes Against Children Research
While there are real dangers children may encounter online
and real cases of child victimization through online contact, it’s important
that parents keep the nature of the risks in perspective when they think about
how to best provide for a safer online experience for their children.
A 2010 summary of Trends in Arrests of Online Predators from the Crimes Against Children Research Center acknowledges a 21
percent increase in arrests for online victims from 2000 to 2006, but cautions:
findings do not suggest that the Internet is more dangerous than other
environments that children and adolescents frequent. The findings here should
emphatically NOT be interpreted to suggest that the Internet is a dangerous
environment for children or youth or that the Internet is ridden with sex
crimes or becoming more dangerous. The levels of arrests of online predators
revealed in this study are quite small compared to total arrests for sex crimes
as evidenced by national crime data. Moreover, the growing number of arrests of
online predators is best interpreted as a product of the increasing range of
the Internet and the increasing aggressiveness of law enforcement activity
Things parents can do to help protect children on the Internet
Educate yourself and children about the risks of online contact
controls to monitor and limit where children go on the Internet.
Help children preserve their privacy on the Internet by
teaching them to limit the information they divulge.
For more tips, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/protect/familysafety/default.aspx.
--David Burt, CISSP, CIPP