NEW Dissertation Topic: Exploring the risk of online grooming and child sexual abuse and what measure can be done to keep children safe

Objectives of the proposed Study:

This study aims to explore the internet safety measures that are readily available for tackling young people’s online grooming, particularly for those involved in sexual abuse. The study will be conducted under the objectives highlighted below.
• To explore and critically analyse primary research covering internet use safety. Under this objective, the researcher will seek to understand whether the topic involving internet safety issues is comprehensively and adequately studied. Particular focus would be on children and young people from age 9 to 16 years.
• To explore the nature and level of risks, which children and young people are exposed to through online content and contact. Under this objective, besides the researcher exploring various forms of risks and how they occur, available safety measures or plans will also be examined to establish whether current regulations, policies, and terms of use by tech companies are adequate to protect this group of consumers. Particular focus would be on sexual abuse risks that children and young people are exposed to.
• To critically evaluate and analyse data from literature on the use of the Internet and whether research protocols were followed during these studies’ collection. Further, this objective will help determine the validity, reliability, and plausibility of the literature’s findings and whether this effectively answers the current research problem.

8.The Context (s):
Current research reveals that proliferation and advancement in technology use have resulted in more Internet access (Reyna et al., 2018). Consequently, most young people and children today can readily access the Internet using smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other types of computers (Mascheroni and Olafsson, 2016). As Durkee et al. (2016) reveal, an increase in access to the Internet amongst the youths translates to an increase in exposure to the Internet’s safety risks. A study conducted by Machimbarrena et al. (2018) found that the most prevalent risk associated with internet use was cyberbullying victimisation (30.27%); the two-risk association was online grooming-cyberbullying (12.61%) and sexting-cyberbullying (5.79%). Machimbarrena et al. (2018) also discovered that a three-risk association contributed to 7.12% of risks. Machimbarrena et al.’s (2018) study were instrumental in highlighting each safety risk’s potential to occur while also stressing that young people are the most vulnerable.

Nonetheless, despite the consequences of using the Internet amongst children and young people, sexual abuse is often categorised as part of cyber-related severe crimes. The risk of sexual abuse becomes particularly alarming regarding vulnerable societal members such as children and young people, those with a mental disorder, lower socioeconomic status, and particular religions or race/nationality (Speed, 2021). Although these risks have been researched independently or in association with some of them, Annansingh and Veil (2016) claim a lack of joint study on all to compare their risk levels. However, despite the presence of several safety risks, Tomczyk and Kopecky (2016) claim that internet predation of children and young people is a widespread problem. It is not only propagated through societal failures but self-endorsed victimisation and paedophilic pathways. There is knowledge of their existence. However, much has not been done to ensure the protection against this risk to children and young people.
In their work, Hamilton-Giachritis et al. (2020a) cite that approximately 23.2% of 18-year-olds in the U.K. have reported online grooming, with 9.7% claiming to have experienced online sexual victimisation. Other researches have reported identical rates; for instance, a household telephone survey involving 10-17-year-olds by Mitchell et al. (2013) discovered that 9% experienced at least one form of online sexual solicitation from an unwanted adult. Based on the susceptibility to technology-assisted child sexual abuse from the victim’s perspectives, young people and children at risk of offline sexual abuse have the same risk extended to online platforms (Hamilton-Giachritsis et al., 2020a). Studies such as Hanson (2017) found that the digital aspects associated with the sexual abuse of young people often impacted outcomes. For instance, there were increased instances of re-victimisation that occurred when images were redistributed.
As Hamilton-Giachritsis et al. (2020b) discovered, such images’ redistribution led to increased feelings of self-blame, shame, betrayal, isolation, loss of confidence, anxiety, and depression. Unfortunately, a lack of adequate understanding of how the internet impacts young people has resulted in ineffective or inadequate safety measures in addressing this problem (Hamilton-Giachritsis et al., 2020a). In his study, Kloess et al. (2019) noted that professionals, policymakers, and internet technology companies underestimate the coercive dynamics involved, including their impacts and support needed by young people. Also, knowledge of the available internet safety measures is inadequate and inaccessible for parents and young people (Hamilton-Giachritsis et al., 2020a). This study will attempt to outline and examine currently available safety measures and how they help tackle young people’s online grooming. As a mother and aunt to children in their teenage years who have access to computers and personal devices that I cannot supervise always, I am aware of the risk online and my inability to protect them.

A psycho-linguistic profile of online grooming conversations: A comparative study of prison and police staff considerations
by Laura Jayne Broome, Cristina Izura, Jason Davies
Child Abuse & Neglectv109 (November 2020)
Article | Peer-reviewed
Persuasion strategies and sexual solicitations and interactions in online sexual grooming of adolescents: Modeling direct and indirect pathways.
by Gámez-Guadix M , Almendros C , Calvete E , De Santisteban P
Journal of adolescence2018 02; 63: 11-18
Article 2018 | Peer-reviewed
Public perceptions of internet, familial and localised sexual grooming: Predicting perceived prevalence and safety
by Matthew L. Williams, Kirsty Hudson
Journal of Sexual Aggressionv19 n2 (20130701): 218-235
Article 2013 | Peer-reviewed
Sexual offenders contacting children online: an examination of transcripts of sexual grooming
by Georgia M. Winters, Leah E. Kaylor, Elizabeth L. Jeglic
Journal of Sexual Aggressionv23 n1 (20170102): 62-76
Article | Peer-reviewed

Type Of Service: Dissertation services
Type Of assignment: Dissertation
Subject: Sociology
Pages/words: 37/10000
Number of sources: 0
Academic Level: Master’s
Paper Format: Harvard
Line Spacing: Double
Language style: UK English

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