Acknowledging that they were older, the offenders seduced youth by being understanding, sympathetic, flattering, and by appealing to young people’s interest in romance, sex and adventure2.
To warn youth and parents about these crimes, we need to educate them about the real dynamics, and how naïve romantic illusions make some young people vulnerable to adult offenders who use flattery and seduction.
Research suggests that personal web pages are not in themselves dangerous3.
It is important that people not discount the criminality of offenses where the youth participated voluntarily in sex or in initiating or concealing a relationship.
Research has shown that simply posting or sending some personal information online does not put youth at risk3.
The reason is that most young people (like most adults) do give out personal information. A warning that is so broad and runs counter to such common practices is not likely to make young people trust the source of such advice.
They may see such photos as romantic, fun, adventuresome, or even remunerative.
Four percent of youth in the YISS survey said they got requests from online solicitors to take and send sexual pictures of themselves1.Research suggests that one quarter of victims of online offenders are boys2.