Status: 14.09.2021 5:24 a.m.
Establishing sexual contact with children and young people online is prohibited. Suspects are often minors themselves. This is also shown by a self-experiment by Report Mainzthat started three years ago.
They use popular online services to initiate sexual contact with children and young people or send them unsolicited pornographic images – the suspects in such cases are by no means always older pedophiles, but increasingly young people themselves. Research by the ARD-Political magazine Report Mainz result.
Cyber criminologist Thomas-Gabriel Rüdiger from the Brandenburg Police University confirmed in an interview with Report Mainz: “For several years we have been able to determine that the number of underage suspects, for example in cybergrooming, but also in child pornography and youth pornography, has increased massively. In the meantime, almost every second suspect is himself a child or adolescent.” The cyber criminologist found this out in a special evaluation of the police crime statistics (PKS). The pandemic, during which children and adolescents used the Internet longer at home, made the problem even worse.
Offenders are getting younger and younger
The criminal police also confirmed this trend Report Mainz. For example, Chief Inspector Volker Olbrisch, who heads the investigation team into the possession and distribution of child and youth pornographic publications at the Offenburg criminal police department, said: “We are seeing that the perpetrators are getting younger and younger. We now have 11, 12, 13-year-olds, that really come together with hardcore child pornography, “says Olbrisch. “On the one hand we have these child pornography depictions that somehow got to them, which they then distribute. On the other hand, we also have pictures or videos that young people make of themselves and post in chat groups. And then of course also cases of cybergrooming. “
Self-experiment as a 13-year-old girl on the net
Report Mainz had already reported on the subject of cybergrooming, i.e. the initiation of sexual contact with children and adolescents on the Internet, three years ago and undertook a self-experiment. One editor pretended to be a 13-year-old girl and signed up for a popular messenger service. Within one day, she received eight pornographic photos showing men masturbating. More than 20 men tried to establish sexual contact with the supposedly 13-year-old girl.
After the reporting, investigative proceedings were initiated in several cases, which have now been concluded. Here, too, the perpetrators were mostly still young, one was only 16 years old. Henrik Blaßies from the Pforzheim Public Prosecutor’s Office, who headed one of the investigations, said: “We actually often find that, contrary to what one might expect, not only adult pedophiles hang around on such platforms and commit corresponding crimes, but it is also the case that in many cases young people are the offenders here. One can say that we see a sad trend among young people here. “
Connection between sexual violence and porn consumption?
Sabine Maschke from the University of Marburg reports something similar. The educationalist asked more than 4,000 young people about their experiences of sexual violence. She found a connection that alarmed her: “There is a strong, significant connection between the frequency of viewing pornography and sexual violence. The more often people watch, the more sexual violence is exercised. We have seen that among the younger generation , male adolescents between the ages of 14 and 16, almost half consumed pornography almost every day. For older people, it was two-thirds. “
Making pornographic content accessible to minors is prohibited by law. A test of Report Mainz But showed: Many porn providers apparently do not check the age of their users at all. With a well-known platform, for example, it was enough to confirm with one click that you were older than 18 years. Other sites don’t even need to do that. You can then see hardcore porn, violence against women such as handcuffs, gagging, and beating.
Communicate media literacy
To combat these developments, experts, including the cyber criminologist Thomas-Gabriel Rüdiger, are calling for improvements in the teaching of media skills in schools. With a smartphone, children were given access to a global digital crime space about the risks of which they were not adequately informed.
“From my point of view, we will see a tendency for the number of underage suspects to continue to rise,” he said. “This is because we still do not have any effective protective measures and preventive measures in connection. If children get a smartphone from the first grade, in the pandemic because of homeschooling everyone should sit in front of their computers, then it is mandatory from the first grade onwards impart media literacy throughout Germany. “
The education ministries of the federal states declared upon request by Report Mainz, there are already a lot of different projects and teaching content to impart media skills. The scope and structure vary from state to state.
Report Mainz: Sex, abuse on the net, perpetrators often underage
Thomas Nettelmann, SWR, 14.9.2021 7:00 a.m.