Friday, February 11, 2011

Victory: lifetime sex registration avoided

In my previous post I discussed a case I was working on in which an 18-year-oldwho viewed child pornography was facing lifetime registration as a sex offender. Fortunately, after the district attorney read my report that explained the way in which a typical teen can find their way into downloading child photography, the charges were modified and lifetime sex registration was taken off the table.

In this case the district attorney was willing to consider new research and data on the development of cyber addiction and, in particular, cyber pornography and cybersex. There are many dangerous perpetrators out they are in cyberspace who certainly need to be apprehended and placed in custody. However, there is also an increasingly large number of typical teens and adults who find their way into increasingly risky and ultimately illegal websites who are not sexual predators.

It is of crucial importance for those who work in the field of cyber and gaming addiction to educate the public, including parents, teachers, rabbis, Boy Scout leaders, etc. of the potential dangers of allowing a child or teen to explore cyberspace without restrictions. The case described above had a very positive outcome, however, it could have easily gone in a different direction and the district attorney could have pursued incarceration and sex registration status.

Parents and caregivers need to take seriously the importance of carefully monitoring where children and teens go as they click their way through cyberspace. Certainly, in an ideal world, we could allow our children and teenagers to feel that they can explore websites without being monitored. Unfortunately, this is not consistent with the dangers that are presented and need to be carefully avoided.

The bottom line is internet pornography is a very dangerous area of cyberspace because it is so easy to move from acceptable, mainstream, pornography sites into child pornography sites. The importance point to remember is that the children and teens who are currently online have access to a virtually unlimited supply of images, images that range from the acceptable and typical through the bizarre, obscene, and illegal.

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