Today's children live in a digital world that has embraced sexuality. Images of sex abound on the internet, and are freely accessible to children in with the simple click of a computer button, or downloading an image on a cell phone. To be sure, a child can inadvertently access pornography through false web searches and misspelled words, misleading websites and URLS, instant messages from other users, and even from emails that are sent an unsolicited fashion.
Even more dangerous than a child accidently accessing a pornographic image is that of online child pornography. Though many nations have laws that forbid child pornography, there are also many nations that do not, and indeed, in some nations, child pornography is legal. Child pornography has found a welcome home on the internet, and is in truth a multi-billion dollar online industry, with over 100,000 sites dedicated to the crime, and is one of the fastest growing online businesses. Indeed, the internet has allowed child pornography to grow as an industry, as it helps to escalate an already troubling crime. With computer and online technology, pedophiles are able to gain access to a vast number of child pornography images, all from instantly clicking a button. In addition, this access can be done in a secretive and private fashion, and can be directed to others in an inexpensive fashion, through emails, social networking, websites, and downloading.
Along with this, pictures, videos, images, and sounds of child pornography can be accessed online, with emails, chat rooms, and websites, and with even the potential of real time and interactive experiences, a with webcams, video chat rooms, and social networking, as we shall examine in future chapters. As these images are delivered through digital means, the pictures and images do not deteriorate with time, and can be shared with others time and time again. In truth, the supply of child pornography, human trafficking, and the exploitation of children in a sexual fashion will never be erased unless society addresses the demand of it, as well. The exploitation of children has been around for a long time, and online technology has only served to increase the problem.
Indeed, there are those who argue that commercial exploitation of children as an industry has led to much of the technological and internet related developments over the early part of the 21st century. Certainly, social networking and online technology have only aided in bringing children closer to these sexually related dangers; dangers which, if not carefully monitored by parents, our children face any time they turn on a computer.
Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 13 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 45 children come through their home. Dr. DeGarmo is the author of several foster care books, including the brand new book Love and Mayhem: One Big Happy Family's Story of Fostering and Adoption. Dr. DeGarmo is the host of the weekly radio program Parent Factors with Dr. John, He can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at his website.