1. History of sexual abuse and perpetration
A history of sexual abuse and perpetration does increase the chance or likelihood that, if other behaviors are observed also, the individual may be offending.
2. Isolating him/herself from activities and people they normally associate with
When an individual is considering offending (planning stage), he/she is preoccupied with fantasies and sexual energy. The individual will likely isolate in order to fantasize and masturbate to those fantasies.
3. Isolating him/herself in bedroom or bathroom, as many offenders will have a very pronounced fantasy life, and will masturbate to those fantasies.
4. Many offenders state that just prior to offending (when they realize they are going to offend and they know when and where the offense is to take place) they will be extremely "hyper" and excited. This is due to the fact that they are anticipating their deviant sexual behavior.
5. Progressive use of pornography
An offender, or someone who is considering offending, is preoccupied with sexual thoughts and feelings. They may attempt to release/express their sexual energy through the viewing of pornography, especially in conjunction with masturbation. Any violent pornography, child pornography, or bizarre pornography should be a cause for alarm and addressed immediately.
6. A general decrease in everyday functioning--poor grooming/hygiene, lack of motivation, lack of interest in school, work, or other activities
When the offender, or an individual who is considering offending, becomes preoccupied with the sexual thoughts and feelings, and actively begins looking for victims or opportunities to victimize, there energy for other activities and behaviors is decreased.
7. For people with histories of substance abuse, using any drug or alcohol may place them at a very high risk for offending. Their inhibitions are lowered when they are on drugs and alcohol, and they may easily "give in" to sexual desires. They also tend to rationalize their offending behavior by stating that they would never have done the offense if they were not high or drunk.
The Internet can be the "devils playground" for offenders. It can also be the same for lonely, rejected, depressed and shy youth. The individual can be anyone he/she wants, and he/she can get anything also. For this reason, teenagers can turn to the computer for comfort and recognition.
Sexual offenders realize this a prey off of their vulnerability. The offenders will use the fantasyland of the Internet to disguise themselves. The following is a list of behaviors for PARENTS and TEACHERS to look for in children and teenagers
Progressively more and more time being spent on the Internet and/or computer
Chooses to use computer in private or when others are not around
Mood swings following computer usage
Child or teen states that he/she "made a new friend" on the computer
Any bizarre pictures, letters, or Internet addresses (should be address immediately, and not downplayed or ignored).
If child or teen states that they are using the Internet to "study" or "research" information, and spend a progressive amount of time on-line, but his or her grades do not reflect the time spent.
People have asked me how long should children and teens be on the Internet (hours per week). Today many children and teens view more than 20 hours per week of television--which is too much. Can you imagine if your child is spending 20 hours a week on the Internet?
Children should only be on the Internet with adult interaction and supervision. Teenagers should be on the Internet no longer than 5 hours per week with an adult periodically supervising them (minimally). Please remember, parents and teachers must keep up with the technology--it would be a terrific opportunity for them to learn about computers and the Internet together with their children.
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