Social media sites with easy access for children, as well as predators, are creating a high risk for dangerous child sex crimes. Social media has increased incidents of child abductions, sex trafficking, pornography, and sexual assaults against children.
Social Media Sites Increase Risks
Due to advances in technology and easy online access, the number of children who spend daily time on the internet and social media sites is increasing day-by-day. The number of online predators who are seeking young victims is also increasing each day. According to studies, 96% of teenagers use social media sites like Facebook, Snap Chat, MySpace, Tinder, Instagram, and Kik on a daily basis. Over 60% of children between the ages of 13 and 17 have at least one profile posted on a social networking site where they spend more than two hours each day.
Online research shows that 99% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 spend time on social media sites. In 2013, the average time spent online for 12-15 year old children was 17 hours a week. Studies also show that 96% of children between the ages of 8 and 11, and 82% of children between the ages of 5 and 7 spend daily time on social networking sites. A 24 hour lawyer who handles criminal sex cases sees crimes perpetrated against children even young than five.
In the past three years, the number of online sexual predators and offenses seen by criminal lawyers has more than doubled. Investigations and arrests show that 82% of child sex crimes originate from online social media sites where predators gain knowledge of their victims’ likes and habits. According to FBI child crime investigations, over 65% of online sex offenders use social media sites to gain information about a victim’s home and school activities, daily schedule or location, and friend networks.
Although both males and females are at risk, statistics show that 75% of sex crimes initiated over the internet is against young girls between the ages of 12 and 15. Since online predators commonly disguise their age and identity with fake photos of attractive young males, preteen and teenage girls often think they are talking to a cute, interested boy within their peer group. Both males and females in this age group are particularly vulnerable to predators involved in sexual assaults, child pornography, and sex trafficking and prostitution.