How Offenders Use Internet Technology to Sexually Exploit Children

Topic Progress:

The technological aspect of OCSE provides further complexities to the impact of the abuse on a child:

Offenders’ use of technology as a means to sexually exploit children allows the offender easy access to the child and enables frequent contact and communication with their victim that would be much more difficult in the offline world. They are able to send frequent messages via communication platforms and contact the child during the night, all which enhance a child’s feeling of powerlessness to the situation and increase their anxiety levels.

The use of the internet allows the offender to groom the child easily and lower their inhibitions more rapidly, increasing their feelings of self-blame for the abuse because they have  actively participated in the communication. The production, manufacturing and distribution of CSEM is also easier in the online world which prolongs the child’s abuse and emotional distress. The permanence and reach of the images make the child fear the images are still circulating and being watched by offenders, and it re-victimises the child with every share, enhancing feelings of lack of control.

The technological dimension of the act also interferes with both the child’s and their surroundings’ understanding of the abuse they have experienced, often failing to catalogue it as abuse. This is particularly true when no physical contact was made between the perpetrator and the child. However, you should acknowledge that there are almost no differences in impact on a child when comparing between online and offline child sexual exploitation, and that even when no contact is involved, there are severe consequences on a child.

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