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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Fourteen: Child Sexual Predators’ Luring Communication Goes Online: Reflections and Future Directions (Loreen N. Olson / Roy Schwartzman)


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Child Sexual Predators’ Luring Communication Goes Online

Reflections and Future Directions


Sadly, far too many children around the world are subjected to sexual abuse. Approximately 10% of U.S. children and one in seven girls will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Darkness, n.d.). Contrary to public perception that these crimes are committed by strangers, 90% of abused children know the perpetrator. Research shows that in 30% of the cases involving abused children, a family member committed the act. This number jumps to 60% when accounting for those abused by trusted family friends (Darkness, n.d.).

To help explain how perpetrators entrap children into ongoing sexual relationships, Olson, Daggs, Ellevold, and Rogers (2007) advanced the Luring Communication Theory (LCT) to articulate the dark communicative processes involved. The purpose of this chapter is to review LCT, situate it within relevant dark mediated communication processes, and articulate suggestions for how students, researchers, and advocates can further examine this social and mediated ill.

Luring Communication Theory and Child Sexual Assault

According to Olson and colleagues (2007), the first step of the luring communication process used by child sexual predators is to gain access to a potential child victim. At this stage the predator begins to scout his1 victims. As stated above, ← 154 | 155 → most child sexual predators are family members or acquaintances. For example, coaches, scout leaders,...

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