|Online predators Internet pornography and pedophilia |
"How can I commit a suicide" Am I a virgin although I used a spoon, "I had sex, is it possible that I'm pregnant, I am 13 years old” ... These are not imaginary questions; these are real thoughts and confessions of teenagers from Macedonia. They could be found at websites such as www.top.mk and similar communication networks on the Internet. In one year, this site registered 80.000 users. Each profile has attached photography, not an ordinary one, but mainly exposed. Age: 15, 16 years ...
Written by: Snezana LUPEVSKA
If at any of the internet search engines you write Pocemon or Action, which are children's favorite heroes from the new wave production of cartoons, instead of children’s games you will drop into thousands of pornographic sites! Pedophiles got an idea how to lure children, while no effective mechanism exists to prevent this. Children face this horrible reality when entering the inevitable, so called virtual world of the big network, achieving through the personal computer communication with the world of rotten adults. In this way are grown up and educated the new generations, who instead of a pencil are becoming literate with mouse in their hand.
If you think that these claims are pushed or exaggerated, the statistics is self-explanatory: as much as 90 percent of children aged 8 to 16 years have seen pornography on the Internet, and it usually happens accidentally, while the average age of children who are exposed to pornography is 11 years!
Twelve percent of the sites on the Internet are pornographic, and every fifth child who joined the so called "chat rooms" was contacted by a pedophile. The new age children, instead of talking to their parents, share the first sexual desires and experiences with their “imagined friends from the network". "How can I commit a suicide" Am I a virgin although I used a spoon, "I had sex, is it possible that I'm pregnant, I am 13 years old” ... These are not imaginary questions; these are real thoughts and confessions of teenagers from Macedonia. They could be found at websites such as www.top.mk and similar communication networks on the Internet. In one year, this site registered 80.000 users. Each profile has attached photograph, not an ordinary one, but mainly exposed.
Poses that evoke scenes from erotic movies, photographs from the bedrooms of their parents in silky pants, girls in high heels whose bras conceal little. Age: 15, 16 years ... They are from all over Macedonia, while a profile could be open by everyone who writes that is above seven years of age! No filters, no limit, no restrictions, no age limits. One of the site owners, Slobodan Todorovski, believes that what he has created is quite decent. He claims that he is not responsible for other people’s photographs and poses. "Everything depends on the users, everything depends on the parents of children, whether they will that their children are endangered or not”, this is how Todorovski justifies his business.
Police versus cyber crime
Police "enters" such sites only if someone opens a fake profile for someone else. The rest is left to the nonexistent conscience of the creators of the site and its users. The most recent example of creating a fake identity is the one from last week when a doctor from a hospital in Skopje, aiming to harm his boss, the director of the hospital, created a fake profile on Facebook. To disrupt his reputation, he was publishing negative comments. Police discovered the doctor who operated on Facebook and filed a criminal charge against him. This is an example from the world of adults. But, the most appalling date for creating fake profiles or exploitation of existing profiles are those for children. They, being naive appropriate to their age, gain confidence towards their "friends" across the screen and enter the network of so called "Internet predators".
“These are people who sit on the other side of the monitor with the intention to bring children of any age and sex and to use their trust and then abuse them" explains the term "online predators" Irena Shumadieva from the NGO "Metamorphosis", which deals with research and education on safe Internet.
A grown-up man put a photograph of a famous English singer and was sending this fake profile to juvenile girls. One of them, a teenager from Skopje, got interested and arranges a meeting with him. When she saw him, she realized that she made a mistake. Fortunately, on time she pulled from the meeting, and shared her bad experience with her friends. This information reached the professors, and was reported to NGOs that fight against Internet predators.
An apartment in Skopje was robbed because the child in conversation over the Internet with an unknown person described in details where he lives. Several boys were constantly calling on the phone a girl from Skopje and were teasing her. They received the number because the girl thought that she gives the number to her "online friend".
These are only a few cases noted by the Directorate for Protection of Data or by the First Children's Embassy Megjashi. Of SOS telephone line was used by children to report "Internet seduction". “Adult man established a contact via Internet with a girl aged around ten years from a city in Macedonia, made her communicate via Skype and arranged a meeting. The girl got scared and declared this to the teacher”, this experience is shared by Dragi Zmijanac from “Megjashi”.
The legislation in Macedonia that has to regulate this area either is fragile or still has to be adopted. With the changes in the criminal code, children’s pornography would be even considered a case where such picture is found on user’s computer. A new act is being introduced “luring for a sexual harassment or other sexual act of a juvenile under age of 14 years by using the Internet”.
According to the chief of the Computer Crime Unit of the Ministry of Interior, Marijan Stoilkovski, penalties will be rigorous. For possession of pornographic photographs of a child, penalty is at least 8 years in prison, while for luring juvenile through Internet, the punishment is at least five years in prison.
The amendments of the Law are made recently, and will come into force next year. But neither the law nor the NGOs will be effective as we would like them to be, if parents do not influence their children. Instead of a child talking to "a virtual friend", children need a true conversation to somebody who is close to him, and who, in the real world, is usually absent. A quote from the written work of a primary school child talks the best about the relationship between adults and children, and what is the reason for escaping in the virtual world, in the same time, by rejecting the real world.
"The computers alienate us, by chatting at MSN or Facebook we just want to hide our reality which is so cruel, and is called loneliness.“