Minors On the Internet
Updated July 8, 1999

Before I go on - I want to make it perfectly clear for all of those very eloquent minors who have been flaming me via e-mail.. The following pertains to those minors who DELIBERATELY SET OUT TO DECEIVE ADULTS.. It does not pertain to minors who are not ill-intentioned and are just having a good time as is everybody else okay????

Just as the threat to so many in the '80s were the unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse by divorcing spouses, in this, the computer age, a new and even more dangerous threat has arisen which threatens the livelihood and freedom of adults. The threat of minors on the internet.

The reality is, the laws protect minors and with few exceptions, do not hold them responsible for their actions. It's sad.. adults using Adult Only Internet sites should be free to do so without having to worry that they might, unwittingly, end up "falling for" a clever minor. But it happens..(see Jerry's Story).

We've all read the newspapers, or heard the stories on the television - in whatever state, a man was arrested for arranging to meet, or following through with a meeting with a minor. In some cases yes, he probably knew exactly what he was doing and got exactly what he deserved. But I don't think that's the case in all cases. In fact, judging from a recent letter from a reader (Read It Here), I can guarantee it's not. I've run across the most innovative minors - they learn from peers how to act grown up so fast! They tell people not that they are 18, but that they could be 23! They talk the talk and convince you that they could walk the walk as well. They are young enough to make you believe they are indeed still "hot" - but they are clever and say just the right things to make you believe that they are, indeed, over the age of majority. Unfortunately, the disturbing fact is, Minors on the Internet pose a serious threat, and the crackdown on adults who interact with minors has only just begun.

So, how do you "know" when you're speaking with a minor? The following are tips and guidelines that have been put together, to give you some clues. Of course, your INPUT HERE is greatly appreciated.

    Ideas For Spotting a Minor

  1. When they are not chatting alone. This is a dead giveaway. When a minor comes on the internet and has a "friend" over, it's a dead giveaway that this is more than likely a minor. Minors like to share in the fun with friends. Think clearly here - would any adult female, looking for a relationship want to share? X out the "exhibitionist" factor - those types of people generally do not frequent internet singles sites where finding someone is the prevalent theme. Use common sense here - do they just sound too darn "hot"? Do they have the kinds of jobs that leave you drooling? Recently, a clever Minor in action was a "waitress at Hooters". Uh huh.. the more she talked (and of course, her best friend was by her side the entire time) - the more it was obvious that these were minors. Language such as "Beth's gonna get me a job there too" - or "I drive a Mercedes and live in a $2,000 a month apartment". These are the typical fantasies of teens. Sure, who wouldn't love to live the life on television. In reality, it doesn't happen that way. And if it does, what responsible adult would offer up so much information? Use your head here - you could be walking into a trap.

  2. What Do They Say? Do they invariably end up talking about "boyfriends"? It's not unusual for teens to have lots of friends and boyfriends - when they say things like "my last boyfriend was jealous all the time" or "I just broke up with my boyfriend but I know he's gonna call" - adults who have just broken up with someone are generally distraught - those who are not, talk out the reasons behind the breakup - seldom do they let on that they are sitting by the phone awaiting his call. On the other hand, teens do. Adolescence leaves them extremely insecure and wanting.. they not only sit by the phone but talk incessantly about how wonderful he is, how much they love him, they still flirt - it's a distraction for them - but they make themselves obvious in their immaturity.

  3. Attitude! This is one of the easiest ways to spot a minor. Attitude in abundance. Teens rule their world - the power of their youth and not yet knowing the limits society will place on their conduct as adults leaves them free to say and do whatever they want. They are "cocky" - have a chip on their shoulder and will ultimately resort to profanity and vulgarity if challenged by another on any aspect of their "stories". They are offensive and seldom apologetic or remorseful. They do not care if they offend - their only concern is coming off as credible and desireable. Their stories are not only incredible, they can offer no details to back them up. When pressed for more information they will change the subject or seeing that they are cornered, they will leave. They may change their handle and come back - or they may move on.

  4. Inability to provide information. I stress the importance of exercising caution - and still do. However, after a period of time in speaking with someone, you do want to progress to a point where you can get to know them better. Minors often have their own telephone numbers. They will give out that number pretty fast. What adult would do that? Sure, take out the "newbie" factor - the small percent of people who don't know any better - then ask yourself who would give it out so willingly? If you speak to them on the phone their age may not be so apparent from their voice - listen for what they aren't telling you.. what sounds are in the background? Is their friend still there? Do you get the impression that "hushed" tones may be due to parents nearby?

  5. Press for information! Year of birth is a biggie - sure it's easy to remember a certain year (much as I'd like to forget sometimes) - but other information isn't. "What year did you graduate high school?" "What year did you get your drivers license" "How did you vote?" These are questions that will invariably stump a teen. Asking for one's political affiliation is a clincher I've recommended many times. Declining to state political party is one thing - not knowing what a political party is is quite another. Try to elicit adult answers to adult questions and failing that - walk away. Minors are only able to convince to a point. Without adult experiences they have nothing to draw on and will ultimately give themselves away.

  6. Sex Chat! This is, without a doubt - the area of most danger for adult men. "Any cute guys wanna chat?" Sounds tempting huh? Dissect that comment.. "cute" is not generally a term used by adults. While a lot of adult women do use the term "guys", in general they don't walk into a chat room for the first time and make that their opener. They want to get a feel for the place, see if they're comfortable there, see if they're welcome there and determine if it is a place they might like to stay. The minor, on the other hand, is a hit and run type of chatter. They want satisfaction when they want it, the need for immediate gratification will send them to another site if they fail to get a reply to their query. Do they go on and talk about sex anyway? Even if no one responded with interest? Do they talk about just how "hot" they are? Their own insecurity and need for validation by an adult male is startling - and obvious. Be concerned that there seems to be no end to the things they will say in public.

  7. Lack of Discretion Minors seldom understand the concept of discretion. They don't know when a little is too much. These disciplines come much later in life - when society teaches the adult these things.

  8. More Advice - Submitted by Reader "Gayle" - May 17, 1998Hi there...I've just been browsing your site (with great interest, I might add), and was reading your warnings about minors acting as adults, in chat rooms. I've chatted for a few years now, and have had very little trouble with kids, but one clue you might have missed is that kids always seem to be anxious to know other chatters ages. In my experience, if I'm in a group chat with other adults.....friends, acquaintances or strangers, no one really bothers about anyones age, and as you get to know people, it's usually fairly easy to guess within a few years how old they are....but kids just about always want to know within the first few minutes of entering a chat room.

    So, why is all of this so important? The laws regarding what constitute not only Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Child Molestation, Lewd and Lascivious Conduct, Statutory Rape, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Child Abuse are not only state to state, but are Federal. Government Agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies are watching. We'd love to believe that they hang out on the chatrooms of AOL - sitting in Yahooligans.. waiting for the obvious adult offender to come in and say something like "Any hot young teens wanna chat with a horny 35 year old guy?" But it doesn't happen that way. Not always.

    What is interesting to note, here, is that the arrests you are hearing about aren't happening as a result of sting operations at all.. the minors themselves are turning in the adults! Why? Perhaps they got scared.. maybe it was a set up. Who knows? The point is, they are cunning and deceptive - leading a man on to no end to entice him into wanting, needing and desiring her - and will turn around at the drop of a hat and tell her parents - or tell a mandatory reporter. Sound like fun? Know that in almost all cases where a minor has finally reported an interested adult male, the governing agencies encouraged the minor to persuade the adult into a meeting. He is arrested on arrival. What happens after that? He is forced into the position of proving he had no "intentions" with respect to this minor. Of course his computer is seized as evidence, all of the communications are read - hers are too.

    The obvious loser here is the adult male - not the one who consciously made plans to meet a minor, or the one who deliberately and with malice lured a minor away from her home.. The loser here is the innocent adult male who had no idea he was dealing with a minor. Sure, ultimately when all is said and done, his records and electronic communications ALL OF THEM read by whoever, he is found to be innocent. What happens to him before that? Does everybody find out about it? Of course they do - do you think the media won't report his name on the evening news at 4, 5, 6, and 11? Will his co-workers, friends and family find out? You bet! Add to the public humiliation, the shunning by peers and the public micro-scrutiny the added bonus of having to pay money you don't have to a lawyer! Will the news report of his exoneration? Nope - he's on his own here, no guts n glory on reporting anyone's innocence - where's the shock value in that?

    You're on your own in this seemingly cold, hard world. I try to enlighten and inform - you have opportunities to learn and protect yourself. Have more to offer? Send it!! I'll post it right here!

    I will not talk to adults in a chat room where an admitted minor is present. Some minors, when asked to leave an adult site will do so. Even the ones who admitted they clicked the "I Agree" button agreeing that information they provided that they were at least 18 was false. They know they are immune from prosecution - the laws do not hold minors responsible for contracts they enter into before the age of 18. Others will not leave and there is nothing more infuriating than other "chatters" who "don't mind" the presence of a minor and argue with you about the minor's right to continue to exist on an adult only site. This is wrong - it should NOT BE TOLERATED by any adult on any adult site.

If you know of anyone who's behavior constitutes danger to a minor,
Click Here to Report it Online!

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