by Jon Atack
Just a Click Away
On the Internet, predators roam free. They can lure victims and destroy lives through scams, bogus philosophies, and deliberate intimidation.
Predators find victims for sport or profit. They enjoy the thrill of manipulation. Trolls target vulnerable people with the intention of causing distress. Con artists offer riches from lottery wins or locked inheritances; they pose as desirable mates offering love to the lonely, or offer computer software to fix non-existent problems, while actually putting ransom-ware onto machines – the gift that keeps on taking, as any infected machine will need frequent – and costly – repair.
It is possible to buy bogus educational degrees, fake medicines and pseudo-scientific “technology” through the world-wide web. Some people have lost their life savings to these scams.
With the decline in street recruiting, many existing destructive cults have moved their seduction strategies onto the Web. Pseudo-religious, philosophical and educational cults thrive on the Internet. The International Cultic Studies Association posted this article – The internet as a new place for sects
Defooing – Departure from the Family of Origin
Freedomain Radio has been soundly criticized for its practice of “defooing”, or departure from the family of origin, where followers cut all ties with their families. This use of ostracism, disconnection or shunning is a fundamental cultic behavior. Founder Stefan Molyneux’s wife was sanctioned for recommending defooing to her therapy clients. While it is sensible to withdraw from an abusive relationship, Freedomain Radio seems to insist that all parental relationships are damaging.
Children Are at Risk
Internet predators groom children for pedophile relationships or even trafficking and murder. In recent years, investigations around the world have implicated politicians and celebrities as members of pedophile rings. These scandals have shaken the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Children’s homes have been implicated, and police enquiries in the Australia, the UK and the US show that organized pedophilia has eluded detection for decades.
Pedophile grooming has moved to the Dark Internet; the Dark Net is rife with pedophile rings, trading child pornography, and sharing methods of manipulation to lure unsuspecting children into immoral and illegal sexual relationships, complete with sites featuring “how to” manuals.
Suicide grooming is another predatory activity found on the Internet. Predatory websites encourage young people to confide their unhappiness online. They are then manipulated by predators into taking their own lives. In 2008, The Independent newspaper reported the deaths of seven young friends in South Wales. They had been persuaded to end their lives, so that memorial websites could be set up for them. Police fear internet cult inspires teen suicides
As crime moves to the Internet, a new world is coming into being. We must be watchful and develop approaches that protect the vulnerable from Internet cults and exploitation.