Safeguarding young people from cyber pornography and cyber sexual predation: a major dilemma of the internet



Over the past 20 years, the internet has provided an expedient mode of communication and access to a wealth of information. The internet is a valuable tool; however, it can also be detrimental to the wellbeing of children due to numerous online hazards. There is the potential for children to be abused via cyberspace through online sexual solicitation and access to pornography. Indeed, the internet is replete with inappropriate material, including pornography, chatrooms with adult themes and access to instant messaging wherein others could misrepresent themselves. Because children are actively utilizing the internet where unknown others can have access to them or where they can be exposed to inappropriate sexual materials, they require safeguarding and education in safe internet use. The purpose of this article is to provide a discussion of how to safeguard children from and educate them about online sexual solicitation and pornography. We contend that society needs an overall conceptual shift in its attitude towards young people's internet use. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.