This paper examines the risks surrounding a growing trend for young people to create personal websites that feature online diaries or live video feeds. These websites often chronicle the most intimate parts of their owners' lives in great detail. Unfortunately, a young person may sometimes unintentionally attract the attention of an internet predator visiting the site, for example by publishing unsuitable pictures or through inappropriate self-disclosure. This risk is increased when a young person has only limited awareness of the basic precautions that should be taken when publishing material to a website or communicating with visitors. However, in a growing number of cases young people are deliberately placing themselves at risk in order to gain a variety of benefits, both emotional and material. The discussion examines the emergence of a ‘wish list’ scene and considers some of the ways in which adults can exploit young people, for example by encouraging them to promote adult services. The paper concludes by offering several potential measures that might be used to reduce risks to young people.
Safer Communities – Pier Professional
Published: Jul 1, 2004