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The Internet

NYT On The Internet And Child Molestation 527

prostoalex writes "In a long and disturbing story on child molesters, the New York Times Magazine among other issues researches the impact of the Internet on the child molesters. While officially the number of child molestations did not change significantly, Dr. Fred Berlin, associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, considers the Internet to be a new vehicle for child molestation: 'There are three areas of concern. First, the illusion of anonymity -- an illusion because Internet use can be easily tracked -- leads to disinhibition. Second, there's a blurring of fantasy and reality. There's someone at the other end of the Internet conversation, but it's not quite a real person; there's a feeling of playing a game that can lead to actually doing what one otherwise wouldn't. Third, the easy accessibility can facilitate moving over boundaries.'"
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NYT On The Internet And Child Molestation

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:12PM (#11450276)
    More demonisation of the Internet. More FUD. More people scared of new stuff.

    Nothing new, it happens time and again, wanting to blame something apart from the criminal who perpetrates an act.

    "oh the internet made me do it"

    • by ratnerstar (609443) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:33PM (#11450431) Homepage
      On slashdot, does documenting a problem a with a medium automatically qualify as "demonizing" it? The Internet is a great tool, but that doesn't mean there are no downsides to it, nor that we shouldn't ever discuss those downsides. I must be new here.
      • Well it does but you get to a point where all you are ever doing is discussing the downside to the medium and then in peoples consciousnesses after years of hearing the downside to it it becomes a downer.

        if all you ever read about internet is worms viruses child molestors riaa raids, warez, mpaa raids, stalkers and everything then all of a sudden the internet in public consciousness becomes a bad thing. it becomes too easy to blame, and it becomes a scapegoat for the real people who are too weak to admit r
    • by Anonymous Coward
      1. PO boxes. classical false but perceived anonymity.
      2. strip poker. classical disinhibition by fantasy/reality blur.
      3. telephones. postal mail. telegrams. classical trans-geographical communication.

      what's so new about the internet? honestly.

      if i mail hentai starring cartoon version of me and a friend to my friend's PO box, isn't that nearly the same? what if that friend is 14 years old?

      this comment posted anonymously, but i'm sure the feds will know where it's coming from anyway.
    • Where was the FUD? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by joemc91 (757436)
      Honestly I didn't catch where the FUD was at. The article did not demonize the internet in any way. It seemed to be more about the current treatment and common characteristics of people who have committed these acts.
    • by RWerp (798951)
      More demonisation of the Internet. More FUD. More people scared of new stuff.

      Is this really all which concerns you in this context?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:13PM (#11450285)

    Certified 100% Karma whore free!

    The Making of a Molester

    January 23, 2005

    Not long ago, Roy became a type of monster. The transformation took a year and a half, and now, one morning each week, he sits in a room of similar cases. The windowless room is plain, with a blue industrial carpet, a circle of brown cushioned office chairs, a blackboard, a pair of unused conference tables pushed to the rear wall and a faint hum from the air ducts. To reach it from the waiting area -- on the second floor of a probation building in Connecticut -- Roy and the other men walk down a series of corridors and around a series of turns that feel like a path through a maze. The room is wedged in a back corner. "No one," a probation officer said, "likes to think about what's back there."

    Roy wonders constantly how he wound up in this place, in the circle of 10 or 12 chairs, a circle of child molesters. His story begins on the beach and ends on the Internet. It seems to him that he was, only recently, a normal man, about 40, running a crew of technicians, repairing elaborate, computerized telecommunications equipment for Wall Street trading firms and in his off hours leading a wedding band, singing Frank Sinatra and Barry White at the Plaza. For a hobby, he flew kites -- kites bigger than most living rooms, brilliantly striped, with rippling streamers and "space socks" trailing more than a hundred feet behind, kites that could perform ballets when he held the lines. He recalls no history of longing for young girls. He had no criminal record of any kind. But then one summer, on vacation, his second wife pointed out her 11-year-old daughter's body. Roy and his wife were standing on the sand; his stepdaughter and her best friend played several yards in front of them at the edge of the surf. "Look at those girls," Roy remembers his wife saying. "They're changing already. You can see their bodies changing."

    Roy has a soft, smooth face and an easy, engaging smile. (At his request, I've shielded his identity by using a nickname some of his former band members gave him.) Now in his mid-40's, he's round in the middle and broad in the shoulders; there's something bearish about him, but in a way that's more pandalike and cheerful than threatening. Nearby along the circle sits an elderly man with a graceful wave of white hair combed back from his forehead. There's a well-scrubbed blue-eyed man in his mid-30's, wearing a button-down shirt with a pleasant check of pale blue. Like the rest, they're here by court mandate for group counseling as part of their probation. Most, including Roy, have served time in jail or prison, from a few weeks to several years. The man with the wave of white hair touched the vagina of his grandniece; he kissed her chest and had her hold his penis. This happened repeatedly when the girl was between 7 and 9 years old. As an adult, the man in the checked shirt performed oral sex on his 11-year-old brother and later took his 6-year-old daughter to a motel room along with his brother, who was by then 16. Living out a fantasy he'd had for months, he persuaded them both to undress and urged his brother to have sex with his daughter, only desisting, only waking from the trance of his desire -- "seconds away from something really, really bad happening," he has told me -- when his brother began to cry.

    "What possessed me?" Roy asks in one form or another in the group sessions that I've been observing for close to a year, in conversation with me and, it is clear, alone with himself. It's a question that seems to churn through the thinking of most of the men. The one who longed to watch his brother and daughter, and who is a published poet, has talked to me about feeling like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In group one morning, another convict made reference to "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Heinz."

    How does a man enter the realm of the monstrous? How broad or thin is the border between the normal and that realm? "Could anybody end up getting into this

    • Abel Assessment (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      That's really interesting. I'd like to take the Abel Assessment test to see what it shows about me (afaik I am not going to be a sex offender, nor am I one now, but I'd sure like too see what they'd say.) A website says that you look at a series of pictures twice, once to measure the time spent looking at the images ance once again to rate them in terms of attraction/revulsion. Seems to me it would be easy enough to implement something like this as a webpage with a little javascript, if only you had their d
  • Ya know... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rupy (782781) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:14PM (#11450290) Homepage
    Child pron was legal in Japan, in fact it was only very recently that they brought down the hammer on it (1999 ood): Child pron @ wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:Ya know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:24PM (#11450374) Journal
      Child pron was legal in Japan, in fact it was only very recently that they brought down the hammer on it (1999

      Some northern european countries are more liberal in this regard too.

      The thing is, centuries ago people used to get married as young as 13, and it is clear that many high-school students are full of sexual harmones. Thus, the cut-off age of 18 is somewhat arbitrary from a biological and historical perspective. I suppose it is "mental maturity" that is used to justify 18. However, some people are so stupid that they would never be allowed to have sex if that was the criteria.
      • The thing is, centuries ago people used to get married as young as 13

        Marriages centuries ago usually represented strategic alliances between families. The contract might specify that there would be no attempt at consummation before a certain age.

      • Re:Ya know... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MinotaurUK (763706) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @06:44PM (#11450948)
        The thing is, centuries ago people used to get married as young as 13, and it is clear that many high-school students are full of sexual harmones. Thus, the cut-off age of 18 is somewhat arbitrary from a biological and historical perspective.

        From what I remember when I was at school 13-14 was the average age people started having sex. I don't recall there being anything particularly problematic about it. In all likelihood, the age is probably a few years younger these days...

        Not much point setting the age of consent at 18 if everyone's going to ignore it (including the authorities, FWIW).

      • Because what you're leading up to is a discussion regarding the age of consent. In fact, some recent cases in the United States where 20-30yo teachers have seduced early-teen boys have thrown this discussion into high relief.

        Early teen boys are more than physically equipped for sex... in fact, they think of little else. They are hormonally-charged and physically able, yet in one of nature's greatest ironies, they're sorely lacking the mental/emotional tools necessary to process that experience. Herein l
      • When I was 23 I dated a girl who was 15. Her parents hat a fit at first, I'll tell you.. My friends called me a pervert and cradle-robber.

        That same girl is my wife now. We got married when she was 18 and that was more than 15 years ago.

        I didn't see anything wrong with dating her back then, and I still don't. Maybe that's because we're a bit more liberal in The Netherlands that some other places..
    • The wikkipedia article you reference says that child porn was legal and normal many places until the 80's or so. That still doesn't make it right...

      In any case, this article is about the interaction of child porn and the internet -- people behave differently when they're online than they would ordinarily, unsurprisingly. Whether or not child porn is OK in and of itself is a separate debate.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:14PM (#11450296) Homepage
    ... the data shows no increase, but we should be worried because some doctor wants some press by scarring the masses?!

  • by bersl2 (689221) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:16PM (#11450304) Journal
    While officially the number of child molestations did not change significantly

    Then what's the problem? It made what they do easier? It makes much of what the rest of society does easier too. Stop criticizing the Internet for society's problems.
    • by Sierpinski (266120) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:19PM (#11450331)
      That's exactly right. The internet didn't cause more child molesters to be 'created' or whatever, but it just gave them a more readily-accessible means to view the content that they want. No child molester (or child pornograpy-viewer) became one BECAUSE of the internet. The internet just made it easier to trade/view such content.

      I will reiterate what bersl2 said: Stop criticizing the Internet for society's problems.

      An excellent statement.
      • I'd go further than you; not only does it not create more criminals, but it provides a mechanism to expose more criminals; because of the apparent anonymity, dangerous people are going to take more risks (publish more pictures of molestation, try and build up a reputation behind a pseudonym, otherwise provides routes for the police to trace them). Thus, although the numbers don't change much, the percentage caught is up.
  • First, the illusion of anonymity -- an illusion because Internet use can be easily tracked -- leads to disinhibition.

    This is known. [penny-arcade.com]
  • by vladd_rom (809133) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:17PM (#11450318) Homepage
    >> First, the illusion of anonymity -- an illusion because Internet use can be easily tracked

    "Easily tracked" comes most often in conjunction with peer to peer and movie/audio sharing. The solution for this is encryption, and it's quite a popular Slashdot topic when it comes to peer to peer and sharing files. If the traffic would be encrypted, then there would be no more RIAA law-suits and debates because they couldn't figure out what does the traffic represent.

    Sadly, the technology allowing anonymous traffic would also allow this kind of activities. If you ask me, the right to anonymity should be above all, but it kinda makes you sad when you think how encryption could be used by these molesters in order to avoid police, FBI and such.
    • How would encryption help? I somehow doubt they simply listen to packets and inspect their contents for infringing material. If theres a site (suprnova like) or client (kazaalike) any client can/will see whoever else is sharing the content 'he' is downloading regardless of encryption? Don't see how you can prevent the RIAA from doing searches and downloads like the avg downloader would?
      • Don't see how you can prevent the RIAA from doing searches and downloads like the avg downloader would?

        I believe the technique is called "crowding", whereby messages are sent indirectly along a path like the telephone game.

        Tell whoever asked for hashkey $foo that its over here (in some vague direction). The response gets passed backward the way it came, and nobody knows who the sender or receiver is.

        Encryption gaurantees that the content of the transfer is unknown. This way, there are no "good samaritans

    • There is a tradeoff between anonymity and accountability. Anonymity is only made possible by creating a situation where one's actions and words can't be traced to a specific person. In a truly anonymous forum, no one can be held responsible for what they do or say because you just can't find them.

      We must as a society try to decide where we need to allow anonymity and where we must require accountability. Both of these things are important, but we cannot promote one to the exclusion of the other.

      This is no
    • encryption alone != anonymity.

      If you want to be truly anonymous you need to employ a vastly more inefficient p2p protocol where peers NEVER directly communicate with each other (which would reveal their IP), but instead route through other random nodes. See FreeNet and Tor [eff.org] for example.

      • Slashdot of course does not allow posting through Tor. At best you get to post AC which is still trackable to you by ip.
      • Attackers such as RIAA/MPAA could still saturate the network with corrupted nodes that record IP's and requests. Even if the communication is encrypted, presumably they have the keys since they are participating in the network. Sure, it would make it harder, but what would realy stop them? The real solution is what the warez dudes have been doing for 15 years, knowing personally all of the people they trade with. Of course, the warez groups still get infiltrated by FBI agents every now and then.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:20PM (#11450339) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't the "virtualization" scenario he's describing apply as accurately to news reporting and bad events? We've got a lot more data about the increase in bad events than the apparent nonincrease in child molestation, now that so much oversight it virtual, through the media, rather than in-person with direct accountability. Now that the NYT has top-of-the-line media products specializing in "self examination" every few months, they should try this model on their own problems first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:21PM (#11450348)
    "In a long and disturbing story on child molesters, the New York Times Magazine among other issues researches the impact of the horseless carriage on child molesters. While officially the number of child molestations did not change significantly, Dr. Bob Hamburger, associate shaman at Ye Olde Schoole Of Medickal Arts and Alckemy, considers the automobile to be a new horse for child molestation: 'There are three areas of concern. First, the molesters can use these 'cars' to travel to children, getting to them much faster than they could using just a horse or even a team of horses. Second, the automobile's interior can be used as an area for molestation. Third, the easy accessibility can facilitate moving over boundaries.'"
  • Human Behavior (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kesh (65890) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:21PM (#11450351)
    The Internet can potentially allow a person to move from simply having a desire, to acting upon that desire.

    However, it can also allow someone to satisfy that desire through sheer fantasy (written stories, role-playing, artwork, etc.), removing the need to act upon the desire in real life.

    I think this applies to every aspect of human behavior, from the benign (sports, hobbies, etc.) to the harmful (murder, child abuse, etc.). The question becomes: is the 'net any worse than allowing the average person access to a public library, the phone system, and so forth? Any of these can either encourage behavior or provide a controlled (and harmless) outlet... it's all a matter of what the individual chooses to do.

    And I think that's what many people miss in discussions like this. It all comes down to self-control and individual responsibility. One argument is that the 'net, through its anonymity, encourages people to deny responsibility and lose their self-control. The other argument is that anyone who does so was simply looking for an excuse to avoid responsibility anyway.

    It's like people who claim that an AC/DC song 'encouraged' them to kill their girlfriend, or that comic books 'made' them think they can fly. The 'net cannot influence a person unless they choose to act upon their desires anyway.
  • Leet speak (Score:5, Funny)

    by Icarus1919 (802533) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:21PM (#11450352)
    The real problem is that children don't understand leet speak, and so will often get drawn into encounters with child molesters and have no clue what is going on.
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:22PM (#11450355)
    Before it takes root in society!

    Ooops, too late!
  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:23PM (#11450363) Homepage Journal
    The point being that the media and bottomdwellers who live in it like to take a slow news day and turn it into yet another story about how the internet is going to murder you, your children, your way of life.

    The internet is no more a haven for child molesters than your average group setting with children and the adults we willingly give proxy power to. Strangely though no one seems to want to do away with Christian youth camps, only some of the bad people who work in them. So maybe the issue is really about the fact that most people don't know the difference between a browser and the 'internets' and they basically fear what they don't understand so gory stories about lesbian communist heroin addicted al Qaeda child rapists is just the thing to play to their ignorant fears.
    • Bingo, though I'd lay off the specifics on "priests".

      The overwhelming majority of child abusers are known to the child and in a position of authority. This has always been the case, and will always be the case. The reason why the Internet is big news is precisely because the small minority of predators who don't know their victims are finally easier to catch. The increased awareness is also a good thing.

      But thanks to the paranoia over sexual abuse, you won't see any coverage of emotional abuse, which i

  • by mcc (14761)
    Hello and welcome to 1995.
  • Now go and treat them like ill people!

    Get them as fast out of the public as you can, but DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT simply put them in jail without any kind of therapy (as most countries - especially western "developed" countries do).

    Without any kind of therapy you're just producing timebombs that are gonna blow of when someone decides to kick them out of jail (someday).

    Everyone knows that these are ill people (the simple disgust most readers here would develop by reading what child molesters do should prov
    • Now go and treat them like ill people!

      I recommend a basball bat enema for them.

    • > Any YES the death penalty is no option. It's simply archaic and
      > in-humane

      And instead you would have them let out again and molesting more children. That's humane? You are a sympathiser. Child molestor's who spend 50 years in jail come out and fuck kiddie's again. There is no CURE for this, IMHO death penalty is the ONLY OPTIONS

      The Best Online Nude Anime Gallery's [sharkfire.net]
      • by GWTPict (749514) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @06:14PM (#11450705)
        Then I suggest you Google for 'Stefan Kiszko', he spent 16 years in prison for the sexual murder of Lesley Ann Molseed. He suffered from XYY syndrome, an extra Y chromosome, this results in infertility. The semen found on Lesly's body contained sperm. Ooops, it wasn't him. Still think the death penalty is the only option?
        • by laughingcoyote (762272) <barghesthowl@ e x c ite.com> on Sunday January 23, 2005 @06:26PM (#11450813) Journal

          Exactly correct, and shows why, until we can have a system which never convicts an innocent person under any circumstances, we cannot even consider use of the death penalty. Ever. Since our system does (demonstrably) make mistakes, we must make sure that, at the very least, the mistake, if it turns out to be, is reversible. Letting someone out of prison with an apology (and a good-sized check, generally) if they are found to have been wrongfully convicted is possible. Pulling someone out of the ground and restoring them to life if it's found they were wrongfully executed is not.

          While I am a father, and I certainly hate molesters as much as anyone, we can't let that cloud our judgment as to the proper way to operate a civilized society. Not using the state as an instrument of murder seems a good place to start, to me.

      • Didn't the article say that there was ony a 17% repeat offender rate (article used the word

        Would you like to kill those 83 people out of 100 who would otherwise go on to live normal productive lives?

      • There are two problems with the death penalty. One is that we know we have killed people for crimes which they did not commit. How many have we killed that were innocent but we didn't know? The other issue is one of hypocrisy, the government wants to be the only one killing people. I'm not talking about war here; war is a special case. It's unfair to tell pepole not to kill or they'll be killed. The way the system is set up now it would be cheaper to incarcerate people permanently anyway.
    • Interesting that the first two replies (and that are the ones at +1 or higher) promote violence instead of trying to figure out why it happens and how it can be prevented.

      I wonder if that are the same people who think that homosexuals should be locked up in jail (males only, females they want to lust on).
  • by raindrop#1 (176770) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:28PM (#11450395)

    Of course, anyone can get a child of their own without any vetting at all by the state - assuming they can find a willing partner. I wonder if we will see articles worried that this provide an easy way for a paedophile to gain access to a child? NYT to call for licensing of parents?

    Mind you, "internet enables child abuse" makes for a good scare story. I don't suppose the headline "Families enable child abuse" is going to sell so many newspapers.

    • Hm, scarily, this is the actual scenario in a book based on a real story, called (freely translated) "behind closed doors" (I don't know its origin, but I think its from Norway).

      And actually, it _did_ get quite some headlines. But of course, no one was arguing that there should be some type of control over who would be allowed to have children...
  • Nothing new here? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:29PM (#11450405)
    True, that child molesters and purveyors of child porn exist in probably the same percentages as ever. No more, no less. And they will do whatever it is they do, with or without the Internet.

    The net does provide a new vehicle for them. A presumed layer of anonymity (and for those that are not entirely stupid, encryption and proxies makes it much harder to track). And a way to dissminate their crap in far wider circles than before.
    Exactly like con artists. 419ers, phishers, and the like have been around forever. Fast online communications just make it easier to suck in a wider range of people.

    Just because it existed before the net doesn't mean that the net's influence shouldn't be looked into.

    • This sort of reminds of me the automatic rifle argument for stricter gun control. They spray more bullets which allow a shooter to potentially hit more people, ergo we must heavily regulate or ban automatic rifles.

      Children and potential molesters have access to a pervasive and easy to use communications medium which allows molesters to target more children anonymously. We've already seen attempts at regulation, and apparently they haven't been working (even though there was no increase in molestation rat
    • then again having a large internet "marketplace" for child pornography, with a fairly constant percentage of the population being fucked up enough to get their jollies from child porn it can cause less demand for more children to be exploited, as each exploited child satifies the desires of more perverts. now whether this stimulates demand for even more child pornography is debatable.
      • Or, having a far wider, faster selection to the individual pervert causes him to burn through material faster, creating a desire for more and more material. i.e. more kids.

        Take a prevert in Podunk, Kentucky. 20 years ago, all he had was his local area, and maybe a 'supplier' in the next town over. Now, he has the entire world to choose from. And a far wider access to like minded assholes. Also, he can now 'become someone'. A 'server' in the global asshole community, instead of just a consumer. And a few of

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The man with the wave of white hair touched the vagina of his grandniece; he kissed her chest and had her hold his penis. This happened repeatedly when the girl was between 7 and 9 years old. As an adult, the man in the checked shirt performed oral sex on his 11-year-old brother and later took his 6-year-old daughter to a motel room along with his brother, who was by then 16. Living out a fantasy he'd had for months, he persuaded them both to undress and urged his brother to have sex with his daughter, only
  • This site provides unbiased, free discussion and support on the topic, including the ways that governments and police forces manipulate this very sensitive issue in order to further stifle our freedoms of speech:
    http://www.madbadorsad.org/sadbbs/ [madbadorsad.org]
  • my thoughs. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TK2K (834353) <the.soul.hack@gmail.com> on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:40PM (#11450470)
    My name is Austin and I am 14. this whole thing sort of freeks me out a bit. I was bored so i did some thinking on this, and this is the gereral direction my thoughts went. I'm 14, that means its normal for me to like girls around that age, find them atractive, ect. Now, we asume as people age, the mature mentaly as well, but this asumption can not always be entirely correct. As my 22 year old friend once said, "If at 16 I found a girl in my class hot, what has changed to make me NOT find a 16 year old hot?"
    To break this down, simply, there was no major change in his atraction to girls between 16 and 22, but unlike when he was 16, it is no loger 'right' for him to find a 16 year old atractive, now, the youngest he 'should' find atractive is more like 20.
    Im no shrink or anything, but i guess its sorta the same thing with the guy in the artical...
    • Re:my thoughs. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KenFury (55827) <.kenfury. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:50PM (#11450534) Journal
      I just follow the seinfeld rule. ({your age}/2)+7= min age to be with someone.

      As you get older you will realize that a 30 year old guy can not talk to a 16 year old. They are dumb! when I was 16 I did not think so but age changes interests and priorties. It is slow but it happens. Attractivness is not just physical but mental (in both meanings).
      • Re:my thoughs. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        As you get older you will realize that a 30 year old guy can not talk to a 16 year old. They are dumb! when I was 16 I did not think so but age changes interests and priorties. It is slow but it happens.

        Nah. Once you cultivate the actual art of conversation and listening, you'll find you can converse with almost anyone of any sex or age.

        In fact, of the ten females I prefer to converse with regularly, I'd say 3-4 are between the ages of 14-19. (I'm 42) Of course it helps that their families and mine ar

    • "If at 16 I found a girl in my class hot, what has changed to make me NOT find a 16 year old hot?"
      As a 39-year-old male, let me suggest to you that what changes is not that you stop thinking 16-year-old females are hot, it's that you start thinking 40-year-old females are.

      There's nothing wrong with being attracted to 16-year-olds, as long as you don't actually do anything about it.

    • by GuyFawkes (729054) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @06:28PM (#11450826) Homepage Journal
      I can speak with some authority on this, obviously I can't name names publically but I've knows some of the top people in this area and quite a few victims too. So this isn't my opinion I'm quoting, it's genuine expert practitioner fact.

      Paedophilia means literally "Love of children"

      Looking at a young woman with a womans body, eg hips, breasts, developed vagina, and seeing something sexually attractive does NOT make you sick, no matter how young she is or how old you are.
      If you are a 70 year old man looking at a 16 year old bikini clad babe and thinking "phwooooargh" to yourself does not make you a paedophile.

      pre-requisite #1 is the "target" of your lust must be pre-pubescent, eg sexually immature.

      Paedophiles feel "threatened" for want of a better word, by things like developed breasts and pubic hair. (possibly its a power thing, you can have more power over a child, and sexual maturity is a sign of approaching adulthood, and much less power over them)

      OK?, now lets move on.

      You know that really pretty 10 year old girl neighbour / cousin / sister / daughter, you know the one who people say things like "she's gonna be a real heartbreaker when she grown up"

      That's the ones you think the paedophile will be after, so that's the ones you try to protect, you couldn't be more wrong.

      Paedophiles like androgynous kids (neither especially male or female to look at) and shy kids and quiet kids and lonely kids and neglected kids and overlooked kids, but most of all androgynous kids.

      So, if you find pre-pubescent androgynous kids sexually attractive, you are a __potential__ paedophile. Do something about it and you are a paedophile.

      If you see a sexually mature pretty and feminine 14 year old and think "phew, never like that when I was at school" then you're not a paedophile, and if you end up doing something about it and having consentual sex with her then you are a sick fuck and a pervert, but you're still not a paedophile.

      HTH etc
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @07:09PM (#11451088) Homepage
      I was thinking along similar lines, but kind of backwards.

      If I was 13 years old, and somebody offered to show me a copy of Playboy magazine, I'd probably say hell yes. On the other hand, if somebody's 45 year old mom were to "accidentally" wander into the room stark naked, I'd probably go "Yuuuucccchh" and tell all my friends what happened, and we'd all laugh at what a wrinkled, saggy old lady she was. (Maybe some of you were more advanced than I was at that age, but that's the simple fact for me.)

      Nowadays I'm 32, and I've dated at least one woman in her 40s. Moreover, this particular woman I'm thinking of seemed cute to me -- not "attractive" in a sort of "she's a warm body and she's basically good-looking enough" way, but actually in an "I'd rather date her than anybody else in this room" kind of way. And when I talked to her and went out to do things with her, she didn't seem like an old lady at all. So something about my mind has changed there, as I've gotten older.

      On the other hand, I doubt I'll ever date a 19 year old again. Those chicks are nuts!! Give 'em some time to sort their brains out, I say.

      So something's definitely changed. When I was in high school, I was definitely attracted to 16 year old girls. Nowadays I just see them as little girls. When I see them dressing sexy, or making sexual comments or performing sexualized behaviors, body language etc., I think it looks like they're posing, imitating things they learned in the movies or something. To my mind, they're just not very good at it, and as a result it's not particularly flattering on them.

      That's just me. I have other friends who see a young girl and go, "Hey hey heyy!" But part of the way this article was written seemed to have an undercurrent of, "any one of us could be a child molester, we're only steps away" ... and if that's what's creeping you out, I just don't think it's true.

      If you showed me a sexy photograph of a 16 year old girl, could I be turned on by that? It's possible -- but that's a posed photograph, designed by a photographer who knows how to manipulate an image to get the desired result. Am I attracted to real-life, living and moving 16 year old girls? No sir, I believe I am telling you the god's honest truth when I say that I am just not. I somehow doubt you or your friend are two steps away from being child molesters either.
  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:49PM (#11450521) Homepage
    Whenever the NYTimes writes a piece bitching about how the Internet is such a horrible place, remember that they have been struggling like a lot of newspapers to grapple with their online competition. They don't want the Internet to look good, their business gets worse as the Internet looks better.

    I'm not saying that they may not have some points, but always be skeptical about "old media" coming out with the latest horror story about the Internet. We've known about this problem for years now, but they keep beating this horse over and over. Ever notice how rarely they mention the sting operations that go down very successfully against online kiddie porn sites? Stings that get people in like 10 countries at once?

    Well who'd want to hear the cops might actually be winning on something here? Certainly not the NYTimes and other publications because that might mean the Internet is still the "wild west" but the west ain't so wild anymore.
    • If you read the article, you'll see that it's not the article that's alarmist about the internet. The internet alarmism seems to have been imposed by the NYT and Slashdot editors. They're the ones who wrote the blurbs and titles.

      The article itself is the opposite of alarmist. It emphasizes that recidivism rates are low, and proposes the uncomfortable idea that there may be a gray area between the evil child-molesting monsters and the ordinary people.

  • who diddled you? (Score:5, Informative)

    by aberoham (30074) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @05:51PM (#11450535) Homepage
    "child sexual molestation is committed against perhaps 20 percent of girls and 5 to 10 percent of boys under the age of consent in the United States."

    If that is news to you, or you find it hard to understand true society-burdening effects of child sexual molestation, check out this award-winning film and its website:

    Searching for Angela Shelton [searchingf...helton.com]

    ...Angela drove around the country meeting other 'Angela Sheltons', only to discover that a majority had been raped, beaten or molested just like herself as a child. In the film she confronts her child-molesting father and eventually goes thru a massive emotional breakdown.

    Her story is pretty amazing, and seeing her film and how it touches survivors really helps non-survivors understand sexual traumas.

    Not until I had spent lots of time around Angela did I finally realize that as I child I had been abused by a baby sitter who thought it was OK to let a 11-yr-old suckle on her breats...

  • Newflash: The Internet is also used by pedophiles. Wow. Shocking. (/sarcasm)

    The Internet, as a communications medium, is just another scenery for all kinds of human behavior, from charity to crime. We have to yet see any place on earth that isn't vulnerable to crimes of any kind.
  • Tiffany (lamps) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nagora (177841) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @06:01PM (#11450599)
    This reminds me of the case where Tiffany tried to sue eBay because of the huge numbers of fake Tiffany lamps on eBay. They said that they had to have two full-time members of staff trawling eBay to catch them. What they didn't seem to grasp was that they only needed two full-time members of staff to catch them. Before eBay they wouldn't have caught 1% of them.

    Likewise, a psychologist friend of mine was pointing out recently that the Internet has made it easier than ever before to catch child molesters without making any significent increase in the numbers of them. In other words: the Internet is the single greatest anti-child-molestation system ever invented.

    But that's not such an interesting story and needs a little tiny bit of lateral thought, so it's not going to be in the mainstream press any day soon.


    • Re:Tiffany (lamps) (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:20PM (#11451956) Homepage Journal
      Likewise, a psychologist friend of mine was pointing out recently that the Internet has made it easier than ever before to catch child molesters without making any significent increase in the numbers of them. In other words: the Internet is the single greatest anti-child-molestation system ever invented.

      But how many of those are just lurkers, hoarding the kiddie porn but not actually touching the kids?

      Maybe they're catching them before they act, but then, you send a guy in the hell that is the prison system for something that didn't actually harm anyone, I'm kinda worried that when he gets out he's gonna want to get in on the real action. And will have been desensitized to violent sexual agressions. Hopefully not.

      Now, there are people out there making the kiddie porn. These people scare me. I'd be extatic if the police concentrated their effort through interpol in catching these sick fucks, but knowing human nature, and from paying attention to the news, I know that lazy cops are simply busting the local hoarders. The more "electronic child pornography files" the better. They get to look like heroes by arresting non-dangerous targets with massive amounts of increminating evidence. Looks good on your record, stuff like that.
  • How did he get there? What are the causes of child sexual molestation, which is committed against perhaps 20 percent of girls and 5 to 10 percent of boys under the age of consent in the United States, according to David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. (Finkelhor, who has examined the studies extensively, added that the numbers range widely from 10 to 40 percent for girls and 2 to 15 percent for boys, depending on definitions and meth

  • The New York Times has been attacking the Internet - including charges of fostering pornography and child molestation - for the last ten years.

    All bullshit. Big politically controlled media scared of being replaced by true democracy in information.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • How many cases are unreported? How many molestors are not caught?

    I think it's very possible that the internet actually reduces the number of child molestors out free in the world.

    Law enforcement have set up sting opperations, where they impersonate children on IRC. They can also trace those who traffic in child porn. Those child molestors would have gone un-noticed by law enforcement pre-internet.
  • Bah.. I was a bit interested in the article, but then I realized how long it was and decided it wasn't worth my time. So here I am having only half read the article. I find the comments more entertaining anyway!
  • "Evil lurks in the datalinks as it lurked in the streets of yesteryear.

    But it was never the streets that were evil"

    (spoken by Sister Miriam as an introduction to her character in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri)
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @07:10PM (#11451096) Homepage Journal
    The article refers to these people as monsters.
    I can see how someone who hurts children is a monster.

    But, I wonder. What about those that are in the initial phase of this "monstrosity". Does that are feeling sexually attracted to children, who have thoughts about acting on those feelings, but haven't harmed anyone yet.
    What can they do?

    The thoughts they have makes them monster to 99% of people. They're not gonna get help, they're gonna repress those feelings, let these frustrated impulses fester, until it overruns their reason and they finally go ahead and find themselves a small defenseless child to make their victim.

    I think that making this a thought crime to be hidden is making the real crime, the one with victims, more common. The article mentions judgement, and a treatment to learn to controll their evil impulses. Wouldn't it be better if they learned to controll themselves before they did things that they can't take back?

    I wonder how many people we know have these feelings... just waiting to find themselves in a situation where it'll come out... scary.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:07PM (#11451876)
      Those are some very important sentiments. Some people are pedophiles, just like some people are gay and (more often) straight. It's not a choice, and it's not decidedly a result of childhood traumas (some who have traumas turn out pedophile, some who have traumas turn out "normal", some who were not traumatized turn out pedophile).

      So these people simply exist. They are not inherently evil or monstrous, they simply are, like some people simply are gay. What they (and everyone else) can choose, is how they act. Resisting your primary sexual urges for the duration of your life takes some (often considerable) effort. Such an effort needs support from those near you, from people you believe in. As you can imagine, if nobody nowhere believes in you, it takes considerable character to believe in yourself. A pedophile will meet universal condemnation and rejection, from everywhere he can turn -- newspapers and TV, but also his closest family and most dear friends will call him the most gruesome things, without knowing it's him they speak of. In case you lack in empathy, let me help you: That's harsh, that wounds.

      That is the birth of the child molester. A uniform society which tells you day after day, every day, that you are a monster, that you are one of the last things on earth society allows to be universally hated. As far as height goes, you're the lowest. Oh, you may not have "done anything" yet, since you're only 17 (and hey, we hate you), but you can't hold out forever. Just you wait, you will molest. And we'll be here to spit in your face 'till you do.

      Unfortunately for society's expectations, the internet has done wonders for pedophiles everywhere. We suddenly have support fora -- I can tell you most of us really did think we were the only one of our kind (feeling love for children but appalled at the thought of molestation). Now we are united, and we are many. And weekly, places like boychat.org sees new, amazed users who are just finding out they're not alone. Here, we can speak openly without the usual fear that haunts us everywhere else. We can share joys and regrets, frustration and philosophies. Thanks to the internet, I have learnt to live with what I am and not hate myself, and not be afraid of what I am. And most importantly, I was able to start from a confused teenager and build a firm set of ethics which I believe in strongly, and which guide my decicions for what I do.

      And my hope remains, that we may one day be judged for our actions, not our attractions.

      (Posted anonymously, for obvious reasons)
  • I think the solution is pretty simple: make sure kids understand the issues (ie that people can pretend to be anyone etc) and really understand them not just 'yes dad' understand. Until they do, they're just too young to use the internet (or at least chat rooms) on their own. We don't need any more laws, just competent parents and kids who understand good logic. Letting kids loose on the internet is basically like giving them a phone and letting them call random numbers and talk to anyone, there's a certain
  • by SuperElectric (754754) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @07:25PM (#11451203)

    I read the article before seeing the link, and never in its many pages did being "anti-internet" seem like a salient point of the story. It was a fascinating exploration of a sexual predator who doesn't fit the common dehumanized stereotype, who wasn't himself abused as a child, who gets along very well with his coworkers (who still hang out with him), who suddenly awakens to this destructive fetish well into his 40's.

    The author reports on a number of perspectives: the offender, the leaders of support groups (discussing their design decisions), the offender's coworkers, and his wife's. I found two points particularly interesting from a policy perspective. One was that recidivism rates for child abuse are actually lower than 20% (still pretty high, but not as high as other crimes, and not as high as made seem in popular depictions). Second, a few very gossamer layers of denial are all it takes to seed the fields for future transgressions, and how that denial can be so hard to catch, even under the seemingly very close scrutiny of a wife and support group.

    What I DIDN'T take away from the story was how dangerous the internet in general is, and how everybody needs to worry about scary relatives over the internet any more than in person. I especially didn't take the article, as some post patronizingly suggested, as a befuddled and clumsy strike by Old Media against New Media. Seriously guys, can't you get your heads out of the Slashdot talking-point framework for an issue as important and undiscussed as the sexual ause of children?

    I imagine that this will be one of the next big awkward social issues that U.S. society has to deal with, as was the Kinsey Report fallout (e.g. widespread infidelity), domestic abuse, drug abuse, etc were in decades past. A possible artifact of this starting trend of reckoning (if it is one) is that recent Kevin Bacon movie [imdb.com] which got pretty good reviews; I plan on seeing it.

How many Bavarian Illuminati does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Three: one to screw it in, and one to confuse the issue.