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For example, many of the youngsters thought the solicitations were from other youth or just casual rude comments1.
Research suggests youth take more risks when they are online together with other youth1.
It is useful to remind young people that many things they post for their friends may end up being viewed by others, and can prompt contact that could become a problem.
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.
Statutory sex crime laws in every state recognize the exploitative imbalance of power and experience that makes relationships between young teens and adults inappropriate.
Youth and parents need to know that most Internet sex crimes have this dynamic, so they can accurately identify situations where such crimes may be occurring. Most youth do not realize that sexual pictures of themselves and other minors can constitute child pornography; its production and transmission are serious crimes.
Research suggests that teenagers are the primary victims of Internet sex crimes and that common teenage vulnerabilities – interest in sex, romance, adventure, independence – are what gets them in trouble3.
Parents can be helpful, but the research suggests that the most vulnerable youth are ones who are having conflicts with their parents.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 says that talking about sex online with strangers is a big risk factor for encountering problems3.So is interacting indiscriminately with a lot of unknown people online4.Research suggests that one quarter of victims of online offenders are boys2.