The Internet has become an immense part of people’s everyday lives, in the Criminal Justice world the Internet has also enhanced the acts of crimes, the way crimes are committed and how criminals seem to escape and or be captured by law enforcement. As crime enhances so does the Criminal Justice system. An area of crime that deserves a closer examination is sexual behavior, online relationships and sexually related offenses that occur on the Internet (Griffiths, 2000).
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The Internet has been shown to be used for numerous diverse sexually related activities. This includes seeking out sexually-related material for educational use, buying and or selling sexually-related goods for further use offline, visiting and purchasing goods online for virtual sex shops, seeking out material for entertainment or masturbation purposes and seeking out sex therapists, seeking out sexual partners, seeking out individuals to become the victim of a sexual assault, and digitally manipulating images and videos on the internet for the use of sexual gratification. Each of these has a different underlined purpose for the offender (Griffiths, 2000).
For instance, when an offender is buying or selling sexually-related goods for further use offline, this includes buying and or selling any form of entertainment i.e. magazines, books, movies, videos etc. The most common behaviors to be committed on the internet is pornography for masturbation purposes, participating in online relationships, and sexually related internet crime which includes cyberstalking. One thing that the internet and sexual behavior have in common is that both are addictive. Technological addictions are behavioral addictions that involve other human contact (Griffiths, 2000).
Technology addictions include salience, tolerance, mood modification, withdrawal, and conflict and relapse. Salience occurs when one becomes addicted to Internet sex and this act becomes the most important activity in the individual’s life and rules the individual’s cognition and thinking process. For instance, if this individual isn’t participating in Internet sex the individual will be constantly thinking about the next time this chance will be. The term tolerance means that the individual must build up the intensity to engage in any online sexual activity, therefore the individual will sit in front of the Internet for a longer time than most sex addicts to increase the feeling of intensity (Griffiths, 2000).
Mood modification is the act of sex partners physically hurting each other for the arousal. Pain must be inflicted for either individual to gain sexual gratification i.e. numbing, buzzing, and or paradoxically tranquilizing. Withdrawal symptoms occur to a sex addict when there is an unpleasant feeling of not being able to entertain or commit sexual acts via the Internet. Conflict refers to the conflict between the user and the user’s everyday life, i.e. work schedule, school, social life and or hobbies. Lastly is relapse which is the propensity for repeated returns of addiction over a course of time (Griffiths, 2000).
There is a famous saying that sex sells, and what better place for sex to sell than the internet. Sex has and continues to play a critical role in the Internet and the Internet’s growth. In fact, two specific developments that are in current use in the United States is the pay-per click banner advertisements and the credit card processing advertising. Both were created by pornography ads and websites. The main reason that pornography websites are so addictive is because most pornographic websites are hassle-free as well as the user can stay anonymous compared to buying pornographic items offline in the real world can appear to be embarrassing and shameful (Griffiths, 2000).
Sexual crime amongst children and the Internet are also prevalent today. One of the major fears of parents who tend to use the Internet is that children will discover these pornographic ads and websites especially the websites that secretly recruit children through materialistic items that engage a child’s attention. However, there are some steps that parents can take to prevent Internet pornography and contact with children such as being physically and mentally available when the child is using the Internet, join an Internet service provider that blocks inappropriate websites to be discovered and or visually available (Griffiths, 2000).
Furthermore, social acceptability is another factor that plays a role in the black market of sexual behavior and crime. In the widest perspective, sexually-related Internet crime can be divided typically into two categories the first is display, downloading and/or the distribution of illegal sexually-related material and the second is the use of the Internet to sexually procure and/or intimidate an individual in some way i.e., online sexual harassment, cyberstalking, pedophilic grooming (Griffiths, 2000).
Internet sex interaction has often turned into cyberstalking, this is because the internet allows location and other personal information to be so easily accessible for victims to be victimized. For instance, Cyber Angel, established in 1995, is a lawful company that protects victims of cyberstalking and cybercrimes. Cyber Angel has dealt with over two hundred cases of cyberstalking. The organization states that cyberstalking typically occurs with women who are stalked by men, or by children who are stalked by adult predators. Naturally, the victim is new online and therefore usually inexperienced with the Internet (Griffiths, 2000).
The development of computer technology is producing new categories of crimes in which the perpetrator believes can hide behind the apparently nameless computer screen to intimidate. Where crime occurs, so do new methods to use as a combat. Cyberstalking has become more advance as well. People can appear to be someone other than the original person, which can put either party’s life at stake. The United States passed a law entitled the 1997 Protection Form Harassment Act. This stalking act states violates both criminal and civil law against harassment (Griffiths, 2000).
Not only is cyberstalking a common crime amongst the Internet, human trafficking is also a prevalent crime on the Internet. Traffickers of both drugs and humans can easily distribute the goods and services through the Internet, through undercover websites that only other traffickers are aware of and trade the drugs and or humans through these websites. The most common way that traffickers obtain victims is through appealing ad websites. Ads that appear to a certain age bracket (Griffiths, 2000).
For instance, if traffickers are looking to seek college aged girls then the traffickers may create ads that have low costing spring break trips to places that are appealing to the average college student such as Miami, Florida. One the girls arrive to Miami the traffickers will then take captive of the girls and transport the victims to different areas and locations across the world. The Internet also increases the chances of sexual trafficking because through the Internet is how traffickers contact the buyers of the victims (Griffiths, 2000).
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The Internet can easily be the focus of extreme, addictive, compulsive and/or neurotic behaviors. One thing that may intensify this focus are the vast resources on the Internet available to feed or fuel other addictions or compulsions. For example, to an individual that is addicted to sex or a stalker, the Internet could be an identical risky medium to those that use the Internet to achieve a goal of satisfaction (Griffiths, 2000).
In addition, there is a problematic issue that the Internet consists of several dissimilar types of activity such as, e-mailing, information browsing, file transferring, socializing, role-game playing etc., and it could be the case that approximately all these activities like Internet chatting websites and sexual explicit websites are potentially more addictive than some other Internet activities. The Internet also allows for traffickers, stalkers and offenders to take time to get to know the victim to gain the trust of the victim. Most victims of sexual assault meet the offender or offenders online through social apps and dating websites (Weinstein, 2010).
Treatment for Internet addiction is based on intercessions and tactics that are also used in the treatment of substance abusers. Psychosocial approaches are the care of treatment, with petite study of pharmacological treatment. Sexual Deviation is often known to be a form of self-meditation, and a reverse for depression and other psychological illness. A major part of treating sexual offenders is to get the offender to find other forms of relaxation and other levitating mental illnesses that the offender may struggle with (Weinstein, 2010).
The idea of therapy for a sex offender is to slowly yet surly get the individual onto a more positive form of mental stability. When an individual that has sexual offender is going through therapy and the psychologist is trying to get the offender to use the Internet for positive use only, the therapist will first get the offender to view sexual deviance as wrong before the individual will be trusted with the Internet and or any social apps (Weinstein, 2010).
The Internet has revolutionized many aspects of social life, including communication, business, education, and leisure; it also appears to have revolutionized sexual deviance. Some sexually deviant subcultures have emerged, and others expanded in recent years because of Internet capabilities. The most well-documented Internet subculture of pathological deviants is composed of pedophiles who use the Internet to view and exchange pornography, and to locate and groom victims. The most well-documented Internet subculture of pathological deviants is composed of pedophiles who use the Internet to view and exchange pornography, and to locate and groom victims (Durkin, 2006).
An important way in which the law enforcement community can combat the problem of Internet misuse by pedophiles is through educating parents about practical steps they can take to prevent their children from being victimized by on-line pedophiles. Parents should be encouraged to monitor closely the computer activities of their children. Also, they should forbid their children from giving out any personal information, such as the child’s last name, address, and phone number, to anyone on-line. Moreover, parents should instruct their children never to agree to an in-person meeting with someone from the Internet (Durkin, 2006).
In conclusion, sexual behavior and crime are increasing and developing as the Internet develops. As the Internet grows and changes so does the act of sexual deviance through the Internet. Crime on the Internet is accumulating through the dark web and the black market. It is easy for the sexual deviant offenders to gain satisfaction because everyone has access to free and instant pornography and other illegal sex acts. According to the statistics of Victimology, victims are never the blame for a crime happening, however victims can become more exposed to becoming a victim of a sex crime by participating in certain activities (Weinstein, 2010).
These activities include being on social apps meeting random individuals, meeting people over the Internet after a certain time of the day, participating in sexual activities with people that are met through the Internet as well as giving personal information to others through the Internet. To lessen the chances of becoming a victim to sexual deviance and sexual crimes it is important that individuals (Weinstein, 2010).
- Durkin, K., Forsyth, C. J., & Quinn, J. F. (2006). Pathological internet communities: A new direction for sexual deviance research in a post modern era. Sociological Spectrum, 26(6), 595-606.
- Griffiths, M. (2000). Excessive Internet use: Implications for sexual behavior. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(4), 537-552.
- Weinstein, A., & Lejoyeux, M. (2010). Internet addiction or excessive internet use. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 36(5), 277-283.
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