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Child exploitation and communication technologies

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Published

Publication date2008
Place of publicationLyme Regis
PublisherRussell House Publishing
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)9781905541232
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

New communication technology can help abusers gain access to children. It can allow groups of abusers to communicate with and incite one another. It can allow them to plan and undertake their abuse in new ways. At the same time, its apparent cover of anonymity can cause children to unwittingly, knowingly or naively put themselves at greater risk. Most of us are aware of some of these problems. But are we aware enough of how the various types of abuse happen, why they happen, and how perpetrators can be identified and prosecuted under law?This book gives a conceptual understanding of new technologies, new laws and new court decisions; and provides insights into a range of sexually abusive behaviours that both evolve and stay distressingly the same. It can help: those who work and study in law and criminology; those involved with safeguarding children; those providing therapeutic responses to both perpetrators and those impacted by their abuse; and, those in IT industries who want to assist their efforts. It explores offending behaviour of adults. Each behavioural type is given a distinct chapter, and common themes are drawn out, including - inappropriate adult response to being tempted by the behaviour exhibited by certain teenagers, exploiting teenagers' vulnerability, and seeking to turn their experimentation into inappropriate sexual contact.It examines the behaviour of children and young people. This can include distributing personal sexual images to a 'sweetheart'; acts of self-exploitation such as posting indecent images of themselves, perhaps when 'dared', or providing images of themselves when financially enticed; cyber-bullying, harassment; and sexually inappropriate behaviour by children themselves, such as the filming of non-consensual sexual attacks, passing on inappropriate images received, or seeking out sexual images of younger children.It also explores issues of identity: how and why people create different identities there, and how and why some people are taken in, or perhaps naively go along; technology-specific behaviours including those involving: the world-wide web, email, chatrooms (including Internet Relay Chat (IRC)), peer-to-peer systems, short messaging system (SMS) - aka 'text messages', instant messenger, and 3G technology. Brief introductions to each of these technologies allow anyone unfamiliar with technological development to gain enough understanding to see how each technology can be used to facilitate the abuse of children.This book presents social and corporate responses: how the pressure to improve technology and get the next uses 'out there' does not always appear to involve the same attention being given to social responsibility; and how corporate responsibility can strive to ensure that the virtual world is safe for children. It also exxamines legal and judicial responses: how the law makes distinctions between different behaviours, how it applies in different contexts, and why different risk and understanding of risk can result in adoption of sometimes absolute limits and sometimes more dynamic ones.