Written by: Noor Zahra Zamalik
Does the tendency towards pedophilia something of intrinsic nature or is it environmentally motivated? Pedophilia or paraphilia is a sexual tendency for under age children or prepubescent children. In “Psychophatia Sexualis” (1986), an article written by an Austro-German psychiatrist Richard von Kraftt-Ebing, he stated that the term paedophillia erotica was coined in 1986. The article described the characteristics of the predator as i) having sexual interest towards children, either prepubescent or at the beginning of puberty; ii) sexual interest is the primary one, that is, exclusively or mainly toward children; iii) sexual interest remains over time (New World Encyclopedia, 2017).
Thus, people with the characteristics described above are acknowledged to experience complex psychiatric disorder. Consequently, the majority public finds pedophilic acting as immoral and criminally wrong. A researcher indicated that pedophilia could be an affect from cerebral dysfunction as it correlates with other problems such as cognitive distortions, self-control and extreme urges. Moreover, in some other cases, the child sex abusers perhaps may have suffered from traumatic experiences in their childhood.
Image source: https://hellodoktor.com/healthy-living/all-about-pedophilia/
What does this have to do with social media sites? Do you know where your child image goes to? It is revealed in the investigation conducted by FoxNews.com that the pro-pedophilia advocacy group is using Facebook to connect with its members throughout the world to exchange pictures of children, to express their predatory behavior between its members, and to identify their target and reel in child victims. Australia’s new Children’s eSafety Commissioner warned that predators obtain their sources through the posting of images in social media accounts as posted by parents and family members.
Investigators once made a discovery of child abuse materials involving millions of pictures of children performing their normal routines such as homework, swimming and sports; a snapshot of a child doing gymnastic, children playing at playground, a toddler playing with toys. In most cases, these images are ‘stolen’ from Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts, and are then manipulated and photo-shopped by the predators and implanted on child abuse imagery sites, pedophile photo-sharing galleries, and highly sexualized ‘child modeling’ websites. Those photos are being edited from head to toe; the child’s head is pasted on another naked photo of a child.
In some instances, the predators create a fake social media account so as to steal the images of children and edit the photos, to portray a sexualized image. Thereafter, the predator will share the image between their communities for instance, in WhatsApp groups or even tag them among other pedophiles in social media sites. In Malaysia, Richard Huckle, who has been described as Britain’s worst pedophile, had kept a diary of grotesque acts he committed against children, including the children whom he had molested while in Malaysia. In 2016, BBC has revealed Huckle to be guilty of about 71 offences against 23 children; the youngest victim being six-month old, and the judge at his trial noted that his victims were likely to have exceeded 200 people. It is reported that Huckle gave children drugs and alcohol, then shared his acts with other pedophiles on the dark web known as True Love Zone (TLZ). Due to the crimes he committed, he was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years jail term.
So, how can parents best protect their children from pedophiles? As parents, it is important to educate your children in a way that will not cause them alarm. To increase their safety awareness, talk to them and explain potential online dangers. Also, brief to them on how to identify ‘sexual grooming’ when on the Internet, and warn them about some tactics online predators often use. Secondly, install parental control software; this can help to identify and block any harmful content in social media sites such as chats, forums, and other internet communication tools and do not forget to inform your children that you install the tools. Thirdly, place the computer in a family room or a visible area, and keep other mobile devices to yourself and limit their usage; this enables you to monitor their usage of these devices. Fourth, you should avoid sharing photos of your children in social media sites or limit your social media sites within your close circles. Finally, if you happen to go outing with your children, please avoid using ‘check-in’ and expose your location publicly. This is to avoid predators from tracking your place and possibly have contact with your children.
Diende. (2010, May 10). Inside The Mind of Paedophile. Retrieved from Neuroanthropology: https://neuroanthropology.net/2010/05/10/inside-the-mind-of-a-pedophile/
Kirkey, S. (2017, April 18). Do You Know Where Your Child Image is? Pedophiles sharing photos from parents’ social media accounts. Retrieved from National Post: http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/photos-shared-on-pedophile-sites-taken-from-parents-social-media-accounts
New World Encyclopedia . (2017, October 10). Pedophilia. Retrieved from New World Encyclopedia: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Pedophilia
Perimbanayagam, K. (2017, September 25). A Paedophile’s Diary: Richard Huckle Kept Account of His Grotesque Acts. Retrieved from The New Straits Time: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/284002/paedophiles-diary-richard-huckle-kept-account-his-grotesque-acts
PureSight Online Child Safety. (2017, October 10). Online Predators – What Can You Do to Protect Your Kids? Retrieved from Puresight: http://www.puresight.com/Pedophiles/Online-Predators/online-predators-what-can-you-do-to-protect-your-kids.html
Richards, V. (2015, September 30). Paedophile Websites Steal Half Their Photos From Social Media Sites Like Facebook. Retrieved from Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/paedophile-websites-steal-half-their-photos-from-social-media-sites-like-facebook-a6673191.html
The Star Online. (2016, June 6). Paedophile Richard Huckle Who Abused Malaysian Children Jailed for Life. Retrieved from The Star Online : http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/06/06/paedophile-richard-huckle-who-abused-malaysian-children-jailed-for-life/
Winter, J. (2010, September 28). EXCLUSIVE: Pedophiles Find a Home for Social Networking — on Facebook. Retrieved from Foxnews: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2010/09/28/pedophiles-find-home-social-networking-facebook.html