Expert sees cyberspace full of risk, from addictions to child abuse


December 1, 2018

By Elise Harris

A leading expert in cyberpsychology describes a digital culture today in which children and pre-teens have virtually unfiltered access to online pornography, and she predicts that one day parents who fail to monitor their children’s online activity may be found guilty of criminal child abuse.

“I can see later down the line that parents or caregivers who allow their very young children to be exposed to hardcore pornography on their phone and on their devices …that may be considered, in terms of social welfare and social services, as the active abuse of a child,” said Mary Aiken, Adjunct Associate Professor at University College in Dublin and an Academic Advisor to the European Cyber Crime Centre at Europol for Ireland.

Aiken told Crux the widespread diffusion of sexual content online has been described in some circles as “the ‘pornification’ of society.”

This is a problem for youngsters, because “children are vulnerable to being damaged by what we call legal but age-inappropriate content,” she said, explaining that in the UK, there is currently talk of developing an “A” and “B” internet, where households who actually want porn will have to put their name on a list and sign up for it.

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