Volume 47, Issue 5 (September 2002)
Pedophilia on the Internet
The Internet provides adults and children with a medium for professional and personal communication throughout the world. As widespread communication in cyberspace grows exponentially, the potential for Internet-related crimes, such as cyberstalkng, has accelerated. Children are particularly vulnerable to sexual predators, such as pedophiles, on the Internet. This article reports cases of pedophiles who used the information superhighway to exploit child victims. Two models of pedophilia on the Internet are discussed: a trust-based seductive model and a direct sexual model. This article explores the role that mental health professionals may play in the assessment of Internet pedophilia. For example, mental health professionals may provide psychiatric treatment to victims of Internet pedophiles. Psychiatrists may be involved in the evaluation of perpetrators of Internet crimes in a clinical or forensic setting. Governmental agencies, the criminal justice system, school, or the media may request consultations by mental health professionals as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to prevention. Methods of government intervention are discussed.