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Chat Rooms and Social Networking Sites 

Chat Rooms and Social Networking Sites
Chat Rooms and Social Networking Sites

Charles L. Scott

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date: 13 June 2021

Juveniles’ sexual development and involvement with others is significantly linked to their interactions in an Internet world, a world that offers potentially positive and negative experiences. Two important interactive Internet formats that adolescents use for the purpose of sexual expression and exploration are chat rooms and social networking sites (SNSs). This chapter highlights these formats with an overview of how juveniles’ sexual behaviors are expressed in each. The role of the Children’s Online Protection Act in addressing children’s privacy and safety is summarized. Juvenile sexual offending through the use of social media is discussed with an emphasis on the use of chat rooms and SNSs for solicitation and criminal street gang prostitution. Mechanisms to address juvenile sexual victimization in chat rooms and SNSs are reviewed to include user age verification, state and federal legislation to address online sex offending, and recent laws passed to restrict the Internet access of designated sex offenders.

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