Video chat is often viewed as a portal for sexual predators. Some people believe that webcam chat can actually increase the rate of sexual predators in the world. However, that is not the case and when you look very closely, you notice that it’s the actual opposite. Cam-to-cam sites normally have tons of moderators who protect their users from harm at all times. These moderators spend their days trying to prevent people from acting inappropriately on cam and causing the environment to be less than stellar. Recently, a team of volunteers came together to catch virtual predators using a fake virtual child.
Fake Girl Named “Sweetie”
The community of volunteers who came together to stop online predators used a fake girl that was created using 3D modeling of a real person’s movements. The 3D girl was in the form of a 10 year old girl and aimed to see whether or not men would actually talk with her. This was supposed to be a way to catch predators without actually using a real child. “Sweetie” was placed in several video chat rooms and when men found interest in her, she appeared on webcam. The unsuspecting victims had no idea that she was in fact a virtual girl.
How “Sweetie” Did
“Sweetie” was used for a 10 week trial period in which the volunteers had no idea that they would actually bring individuals to court and sentence them. However, that was the case as one man was sentenced to two years in prison after chatting sexually with the virtual girl. The man was found to have child pornography in his computer and the jury decided that the fact that “Sweetie” was not a real girl had no significance; he believed she was real so it’s no different.
Throughout the 10 weeks that volunteers placed “Sweetie” in chat rooms to try and catch virtual predators, over 20,000 men talked with the virtual child. Roughly 1000 of those men had asked “Sweetie” to perform sexual acts on webcam and their identities were handed over to the proper authorities. In the end, using this virtual girl turned out to be quick successful. Predators are out there; we can’t change who they are, but we can stop them from doing harm to actual children.
Right or Wrong
Some people debate whether or not the use of a virtual girl to catch online predators is the right path to take. The fact that these volunteers were able to catch thousands of potential predators in just under 3 months is truly remarkable. If we begin applying this virtual child as a full time predator catcher, we will be able to put a lot more sexual predators behind bars. Video chat sites are slowly integrating this type of technology every single day in hopes of chipping in and making this world a safer and more enjoyable place.