Studies have shown a sharp rise in the number of sexual predators who prowl the internet looking for vulnerable people and then make arrangements to meet them for sex, especially children. These people are known as ‘travelers’and they are increasing in numbers every week. A disturbing number of ‘travelers’ don’t involve your normal suspects, they involve men who are first time offenders with no criminal history of sexual activity towards a minor, and they are men and women who hold high income jobs.
Chat rooms exist online under many names which require viewers to be over the age of eighteen, unfortunately it is difficult to decipher what is fact and what is fantasy based upon the information a person provides. Once they have access and are in, they can be whoever they want to be and can use fictional stories, sexual fantasies and even plans for the future. This gives them the potential to pursue contacts who have children for dangerous intentions.
Studies in the use of the internet for deviant behaviour found erotic computer communication in differnet forms ranging from, mild flirting, seeking/sharing personal information and blunt discussions about specific deviant sexual behaviour. Online users are free to explore darker parts of their sexuality anonymously on the internet by changing their name, age, occupations and physical appearance. It’s so easy for a user to pretend to be a hot young stud or a middle-aged lesbian without having to prove who they are.
Sex chatroom users are known as ‘fantasy’users as they utilise chat rooms and instant messaging for the purpose of role-playing in online fantasy sex chat. Fantasy users often progress into sexually more explicit dialogue made available through forums because they are anonymous. They more often than not hide their behavior from people they know and despite feelings of guilt or shame they continue to engage in the act. Of course something has to trigger the initial start of becoming a sexual online deviant and they come in several stages.
Discovery, is when the first initial discovery is made through adult websites and sexual explicit chat rooms and other forums. It can start with someone entering a chat room and meeting someone who entices them to talk sexually explicit. They discover a thrill of the act and this opens the door to further exploration. These chat rooms and chats can engage someone to provide themselves sexual stimulation.
Exploration is the experimental stage when someone may explore new websites such as porn sites or date sites, or they may enter a chat room for the first time. It’s usually something new and something tempting and it’s not something they would try if others were around.
Escalation is when the behaviour starts to escalate and they start looking for new pornography or sex sites every time they access the internet. The internet is now being used for a reoccurring habit and not as a productive tool. The user feels compelled to go online and feels more obsessed with being online. The user will build online relationships with regular users that they can have their thrill with.
Just like an alcoholic the online sex user becomes bored and needs a bigger virtual fantasy to satisfy their needs. As it becomes more of an addiction the user will try to rationalise their behavior to others with statements such as‘Its just a computer fantasy’. They try to separate fantasy and reality life but this will only be successful on a temporary basis as they fail to quit the addiction.
Compulsivity is when the addiction becomes a compulsive obsession and their life becomes unmanageable as their relationships and jobs are jeopardized because of their obsession. The addiction is starting to provide an altered mental state of reality and they use their addiction to relief pain, anxiety and emotional stresses.
Hopelessnessis when the addict hits rock bottom and will realize the extent of the damage done because of their addiction. They start to feel hopeless as they become aware that their life is out of control. The addict in this stage will try to eliminate access to their addiction by cancelling internet service and even disconnecting their ability to access their addiction. The addict soon struggles to stay away from their addiction, however a large number of addicts without professional help will soon relapse.
With the internet providing an outlet for a curious persons exploration, and with its lack of restrictions it creates access to chat rooms considered offensive, including adult-child interest. Most people do not realise there is any risk involved in engaging in online sexual pursuits and simply see it like a journey into ‘foreign territory’. It occurs in the comfortable environment of a home or office allowing even more adventurous behaviour to happend and progress. It also opens the door for sexual predators to gain access to unaware innocent people looking for a real relationship.
Unfortunately it’s not always safe and you cannot believe everyone. If you feel its not right, then its probably not. When using the internet you must always let pople know if you are going to meet anyone, and always be cautious. Parents need to restirct access on home computers and mobile devices so children cannot access online forums.
If you feel you have a uncontroallable addiction or feel you have one that could develop you need to seek help before its to late. Obsessive addictions can lead to situations you don’t want to find yourself in.