Desensitization and Internet Child Exploitation

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The statistics are staggering. 40 million people regularly visit pornography sites. Roughly 116,000 queries related to child exploitation are typed into internet search engines on a daily basis. Child exploitation is now one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. The FBI has reported a 2500 percent increase in arrests over the last ten years. Given the seriousness of this crime, these numbers are slightly overwhelming. It is important to remember that most people don’t wake up one day and decide to engage in sexual offenses against children. The process is typically a lot slower and more covert. The key to eradicating child exploitation from society is to take preventative measures. Basically destroying the seeds of sexual exploitation before they take root. If you require legal aid, Military Trial Defenders can help.

Understanding the Desensitization Process

In 1924, psychologist Mary Cover Jones developed a groundbreaking process of behavioral therapy based on the psychological principles of classical conditioning and mental adaptation. Desensitization, as the process eventually came to be called, is generally defined as “the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it”. In layman’s terms, the most repeatedly we are exposed to something, the less likely we are to emotionally respond to it.

The principle of desensitization is often used to help phobia victims overcome fear. If people are afraid of spiders, for example, they might overcome this fear by exposing themselves to one spider on day one, then two spiders on day two, then three spiders on day three, etc. This principle can also be applied in everyday life. People who have an aversion to broccoli, for example, may end up liking the vegetable after weeks of repeated exposure. Mental patterns change, and desensitization makes room for cravings.

Child Offenses Begin with Desensitization

According to mental health experts, the desensitization process also applies to cases of sexual abuse and exploitation. When people are exposed to adult images and videos, they eventually become desensitized and seek more stimuli. The transition to child-related images in such a situation is easy, and when people become addicted, they typically progress to younger and younger children over time.

Unfortunately, not all perpetrators initially search out this material. 34 percent of internet users report that they have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content in the form of emails, ads, or bad links. What can begin with unwanted exposure can eventually turn into desensitization. It is important to be on guard by taking preventative measures when it comes to media. Pop up blockers, content searching filters, and general awareness can significantly reduce the risk of pornography addiction.

Personalized Representation

If you are facing court-martial for child exploitation and are seeking representation, the attorneys at Military Trial Defenders are able to help. We offer personalized attention and respect to every client. Our military experience combined with our law expertise make us ideal representatives for military members accused of serious crimes. With this in mind, contact our law office today to see how we can assist you during your trial.

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