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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: July 2013

6 - Child predation and child pornography online


Case studies

Emily is thirteen years old, and has just joined a popular social networking site. She's very excited – her friends have been using the site for a while, but she's only just been allowed to create a profile. She finds her classmates online and contacts them using the social networking site. Several other people contact her, including Graham, whom Emily doesn’t know, but who seems to be a friend of one of her classmates. Graham starts sending her messages, complimenting her photos and chatting about her favourite bands and television programmes. Graham says he's sixteen years old, and Emily is flattered by his attention. After they’ve exchanged a few messages, Graham starts flirting with Emily, and asks her to visit him at his house. Emily has never had a boyfriend, and doesn’t want to upset Graham by refusing to go – besides – Graham is cute, and funny, and pays more attention to her than anyone else in her life. Nevertheless, she feels a little unsure, and decides to bring a friend with her when she goes to see him. When Graham answers the door, Emily realises that he's at least five years older than he said he was, and looks nothing like his photograph. She and her friend run away, but they don’t tell anyone what happened.

Deborah is seven years old, and is spending the summer holidays with her uncle and his family. While she enjoys spending time with her cousins, she is uncomfortable around her uncle, as he touches her, and she's not sure if this is normal or not. Her uncle says that it's okay, and to prove it, he uses his computer to find pictures of other little girls who are being touched in a similar way. Deborah notices that the other girls seem to be smiling, and there are lots of pictures of different girls. Deborah starts to think that perhaps her uncle's behaviour is normal.

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