November 22, 2002
Children lured on internet

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By Catherine Shanahan from The Irish Examiner

SEXUAL overtures are being made on the internet to children as young as 10 and some youngsters have been asked to meet the instigator.

At a conference yesterday on internet safety, Dr Ethel Quayle, Professor of Child Psychology at University College Cork, said studies showed one in five children aged 10-17 has received sexual solicitation over the internet.

“Studies also show that one in 33 received an aggressive solicitation. They were asked to meet somewhere, called on the telephone or sent regular mail, money or gifts.”

Dr Quayle, a researcher for the COPINE project which studies child pornography, said there was no way of knowing how may offenders were using the internet, because many operated within private networks, but that they were of all ages and social backgrounds.

She said traditionally child pornography was expensive, difficult to access and carried with it a risk but the internet had made it accessible, affordable and provided anonymity.

Dr Quayle also warned sex offenders could capitalise on the natural curiosity of children via the internet. John Haskins, vice-chairman of conference hosts, the Internet Advisory Board, said the role parents could play in policing their child’s use of the internet was vital.

“Neither the Government nor the industry are entirely responsible for internet safety so parents need to get actively involved in the child protection side. Mr Haskins said filters were never 100% foolproof.

“You can have a child talking to an 80-year-old man without knowing or you can have chatroom contact with a Pauline who later turns out to be a Paul. It’s totally uncontrolled viewing

Posted by paul at November 22, 2002 09:44 AM
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