The rapid technological growth that is the proliferation of information technologies and expansion of the internet has come up with new ways and opportunities for the sexual abuse of children. In most cases, sex offenders normally use the internet as a medium to distribute and access images which are indecent and in most of the cases select victims to be groomed for the major objective of abuse. Technically, child sexual abuse normally happen when adolescent, adult or another child who basically in age is bigger or older than the victim, exposes the victim or the child to sexual oriented photos or pictures (pornography), starts not desirable touching with attempt intercourse or sexual overtones, cunnilingus or voyeurism with the victim child, or to an extent of making attempt of penetration through the use of objects on the orifice of the child. Additionally having the child photos for a pornography purpose is also referred as molestation. For the main purpose of this paper, the term child molests and child abuse will be interchangeably used.
Child Sexual Abuse and the internet
In reference to the various form of abuse, it can be emotional, verbal and physical. Generally, to some extend child sexual abuse, specifically on the internet may leave no physical damage although its impact or damage is experienced emotionally. Statistically in Canada, one out three girls and one out one out of five boys will experience sexual abuse before attaining or achieving maturity at the age of eighteen, and this makes the children be robbed of their childhood years. Considering child abuse in Canada, the investigation has basically increased from 235,842 in the year two thousand and eight to approximately 356,927 in the year two thousand and fifteen, other countries like Australia and US experience larger record (Saleh, 2009).
Different types of sexual abuse
In reference to Leclerc, Proulx, & Beauregard, E. (2009), the research was done by the Media awareness Network (MNet), a research program was initiated to bring into light what the Canadian children were consuming online and to what extended are they exposed to risky behaviors. Basically, parents normally have a positive mentality towards the internet, in that they view it as a platform full of knowledge and useful tool for their children school work. This is contrary to how most of the children are viewing it as a socializing, learning and playing which is exposing them to hateful and sexual materials like chatting with adults and being exposed to pornography and online dating sites. Some of the different types of sexual abuse include the child on child sexual abuse where a child in its preadolescent stage is sexually abused by either one or different number of children in the process. In this case, no adult is involved directly. Additionally, one of the serious experiences of child abuse is the adult on child sexual abuse where some of the mature individuals normally take advantage of their time alone with the child and with time take advantage of them.
Indicators in children showing of sexual victimization
In reference to Canada, up to 40% of child statistics show that victims experience no signs or just a little signs, they to some extent not willing to talk about it, experience shy attitudes, or some go through unusual talkative attitude. They may be protective towards themselves by going away and to some extend running away from some individuals, avoiding some places and even some children. Majorly, the indicators can be divided into two parts, thats the physical symptoms and the emotional symptoms.
Some of the physical signs include children being threatened by molesters not to disclose some secrets to the parents and teachers, stains in the body, torn underwear, redness, difficulty in sitting and walking, discoloration, unexplained urinary infection and even sexually transmitted diseases. Basically, in case the child is bold to confess any of the above symptoms would provide evidence to report to the appropriate agency for investigation process to be done. In most cases in Canada , it has been proven that 84% of children being molested have their perpetrator known to the children and 82% of proven child molest cases, those who performed the act normally ends up unreported (Akdeniz, 2016).
Behavioral and emotional signs
Considering the emotional symptoms of child sexual abuse that happen through pornographic pictures, physical abuse or through leaking their private part pictures on the internet the emotional and behavioral signs that will impact the child negatively include; anxiety, depression, sexualized behaviors and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Technically, when three of the emotional behaviors are realized on children, an investigation should be launched through involving a social worker for the case of child abuse.
Prevention of child abuse
The generally, child abuse is one of the dangerous phenomena that is affecting our children today and even killing most of the children dreams. Children should be talked to about inappropriate and appropriate touch as much as talking about sex is like talking about crossing the street where we dont want and we dont expect children to experience hurt (Saytarly & Timofey, 2003). Unless children are taught and even sensitized about the danger, child abuse and abuse on the internet is likely to be seen as a normal problem that is spreading and existing in our society. Teachers and parents have the responsibility of talking to their children about the inappropriate and appropriate parts to be touched as young as the kindergarten stage. Parents should identify them recognize their private parts and warn them that only their parents are allowed to touch their private parts when washing them and no one else is supposed to do so. No cute names should be mentioned about their private parts and the use of real names like penis and Vagina should be mentioned. Teachers should guide them on the appropriate and best costumes to put on and disregard the topic for being a dirty topic or a taboo not to be talked about in the society (Howitt & Sheldon, 2009).
Basically, most of the sex crimes that normally affect the minors in most cases goes unreported and those who are knowledgeable tend to drift away and fail to initiate the arrest. Considering the current society where children are being brought up by television, the internet, and friends, most minors and adolescent goes through the process of depression and loneliness and law enforcement officers, parents, teachers, and practitioners should be aware that most of the depressed minors rely on the internet to help them manage loneliness and depression. Since depressed and lonely minors doesnt experience a loving relationship with the parents they end up being vulnerable to being swayed into internet abuse and even general sexual abuse by those who want to take advantage(Konopasky, R.J. 1996). Some of the internets initiated sexual relationship normally arises as a result of this, some of the malicious sexual partners, in the long run, ends up putting the minors privacy into great risk through sharing and exposing their body pictures to the internet.
Theories and Behavior
Theory of natural curiosity about bodiesOne of the majorly experienced theories that sometimes lead to child sexual abuse is the natural curiosity about bodies of others and about their own bodies. Technically, children in their normal life dont go through the same sexual desires in the exact way adult normally experience. Though some of the children normally like experimenting their bodies through touch as others and even like being touched by others, some experiments and studies have indicated that, even newborn babies find pleasure touching their genitals; this basically shows facts about physiological arousal such as erection and vaginal lubrication (Ward, at el 2006). Children sometimes do experience sexual abuse from older peers as a result of showing me yours and I show you mine games which make them start engaging in funny relationships. Basically, a better resource that offers a comparison between a normal sexual exploration by children with the sexual behavior problems and the signs of possible child sexual abuse is through Stop it now, taking consideration of normal behavior, big difference normally exist (Stanley& Janet 2001).
Children normal behavior based on age group
Some of the normal behavior that tends to exists in children between the age of six and eight include personal values, relationships, physical development and sexual behavior, menstruation, experiment with the same gender children, and the same age during role-playing and games. Additionally, during the age of nine to twelve, external influences and hormonal influences such as internet and media, peers will increase feelings, sexual awareness and interest on the onset of puberty. For protection and an awareness to be created knowledge about a relationship and sex behavior, sexual materials and information, self-stimulations are being expected to continue (Greenspan, 2005). Critically, this age is a delicate age where children are exposed to child sexual abuse especially on the internet and physically; this normally happens due to their curiosity to learn about themselves and how their bodies react.
Child sexual abuse especially in the internet is becoming a serious issue that has vastly affected and even interfered with many children lives and self esteem .Therefore awareness should be ensured by teachers and parents efforts through ensuring that children are educated about their body and even sensitized on how to handle internet. Governments should set strict rules and regulation to monitor and punish those who get involved in child sexual abuse.
Akdeniz, Y. (2016). Internet Child Pornography and the Law: National and International Responses. Routledge.
Greenspan, Edward and Marc Rosenberg. (2005). Martins Annual Criminal Code. Canada Law Books:Aurora, Ontario
Howitt, D., & Sheldon, K. (2009). Sex Offenders and the Internet. John Wiley and Sons.
Konopasky, R.J. (1996). Managing sex offenders: Some thoughts and suggestions. Forum on Corrections Research, Vol. 8, No. 2
Leclerc, B., Proulx, J., & Beauregard, E. (2009). Examining the modus operandi of sexual offenders against children and its practical implications. Aggression and violent behavior, 14(1), 5-12.
Stanley, Janet. (2001). Child abuse and the Internet. Child Abuse Prevention Issues, No. 15, Summer.
Saleh, F. M. (2009). Sex Offenders: Identification, Risk Assessment, Treatment, and Legal Issues. Oxford University Press, USA.
Saytarly, Timofey. (2003). Fighting Child Pornography in Canada
Ward, T., Polaschek, D., & Beech, A. R. (2006). Theories of sexual offending. John Wiley & Sons.
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