Tell me about how online pedophiles operate

In responding to this delightful thread -

How to string along anti-pedophile cops without committing a crime or giving cause to arrest?

I know it’s an oogy question, but it occurred to me I really had no idea re the mechanics of how a pedophile would get access to a child posting online. For all the time I interact on the net I was never a fan of “chat rooms” which seems to be there this action is going down. I’m 53 and came to the web as an adult so possibly this is something that was never on my radar. I thought most kids communicated through person to person texts these days.

So, a few questions.

Where are pedophiles accessing these kids? Where are kids engaging in sexually explicit conversations online? I would think maintaining a site like this would be somewhat illegal in and of itself.

Who exactly are these pedophiles conversing with? I’m assuming we’re talking about young teenagers aged 13-16 not actual young “kids”. Are these sites were teenagers specifically go to have smutty conversations with each other or are they discussing something else?

I have a daughter who is 24 now, so I’m not entirely immune to the notion that kids will occasionally do Incredibly Stupid Things online and IRL, but seriously, to agree to hook up with a strange older man for sex seems bizarre in the extreme.

Do these young teenaged girls think they are talking with a cute boy their own age or what? When the pedophile arranges a real life meeting does the girl think Justin Bieber is going to come through the door, or does she expect the adult guys snagged in “To Catch A Predator”.

I can’t answer all your questions. I’ll just comment generally on a few points.

After finding a likely “prospect”, the pedo will get the targeted kid to IM. That gets the conversation off the website, and thus untrackable by the site’s admins.

Depends on what the pedo is into. If the pedo wants one very young, he (or she) can probably find one.

Usually it’s something else, and the pedo hijacks the conversation and then tries to get the kid to IM.

Pedos tend to target lonely, isolated, submissive kids. These kids end up going along with the sexual innuendos and suggestions because they are desperate for attention. Also, pedos often lie about their age, saying they are younger than they are.

First, the pedo usually wants the kid to know he (or she) is significantly older. It’s part of the sexual thrill to see if they can talk a kid into having sex with an adult. Second, some male pedos target boys.

In another thread on a similar topic, I recommended Vulnerable Populations, Vol. 1 by Suzanne Sgroi, MD. It was written for educational and medical professionals to assist them in recognizing symptoms of abuse in children. The case histories are heart-rending. I do not remember if the book addresses specifically pedos trolling chat rooms, but I believe there is a discussion on how pedos “groom” a child they’ve targeted. Hope you find this info useful.

Slight hijack, but useful advice for someone on the lookout for child predators.

Most child predators don’t operate from the internet. They’re usually someone that the parent and child already know, such as a family member, teacher, sports coach, etc.

It’s pretty hard for a total stranger to get a hold of a child because parents usually know where their child is at all times. A child’s two hour detour to see someone they’ve met online would raise a lot of obvious questions. Unfortunately, two hours at Uncle Jim’s house, or with the sports coach who has really taken an interest, would not bring up the same questions. That’s why predators who know the child are more likely to get away with their crimes.

The best way to keep a child safe is to teach them age appropriate sexual behavior and to inquire about all their activities where you’re not around.

A van with no windows costs about five thousand farmville bucks. Thats all I know.

But if you are interested in actual help, I’d stop worrying about strangers. If anyone abuses your kids it will probably be someone you trust enough to leave alone with your kids. A family member, a stepparent, a coach, etc.

Which Children Do Child Molesters Target?


Biological Child


Stepchild, Adopted or Foster Child


Brothers & Sisters


Nieces & Nephews





Child Left in My Care


Child of Friend or Neighbor



Child Strangers


Source: The Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study.

What always surprises me is how friendly and outgoing some kids are. I have a part time job driving an elevator and the little kids (under say 10) just love to ride and watch me drive it. It’s like a ride to them.

I assume a pedophiles would not go to a kid, but simply place himself in the area where kids will come to him. It’s sad but a lot of kids seem to be lonely or just want a friend. In the parents defense, some of these kids, I’ve run across, never seem to shut up. I can see where a parent would be on his or her knees to be shed of the talking monster for a few minutes.

Kids also seek people out. I wouldn’t imagine it would be too hard for a kid to go online and find a chat room and pretend to be an adult. When I was a teen, we’d call sex chat lines, just for a laugh, till our parents found out and then the laughter ended.

Despite all the warnings parents put into kids, I find most of them still are very outgoing and friendly. I don’t think it’d be hard to win most of them over.

As a former teenage girl, I too would like to know. If anyone had started saying things to me like what was said in the linked chats with fake children, I would have been gone from the chat in 2 seconds flat. The ewww ick factor was way too high with all the sex talk. It would be way more believable if the pedo spent 5 hours straight talking about Justin Bieber and shopping at the mall and my magic pony or whatever before starting with the gross stuff.

Many pedo/fake children chats are posted online, but are there any chats featuring pedo/real children online? Is this really happening, with real children participating? Do these men really believe that they really happened upon a child who wants to see their dick and talk about being pissed on?

I understand how they get access to kids, but I can’t fathom how someone can abuse a child over many years and not being found out after the very first instance. Kids today [ at least in the UK ] are very savvy about not talking to strangers and not getting into cars.

Any kid over 5 years old KNOWS that it’s very, VERY bad for anyone to touch them in a private place, so why does it go undetected for so long, don’t kids talk to each other or talk to parents, teachers ?

Because it’s often not the kids with a stable home life and dedicated family. The stats upthread show that step/foster/adopted kids are often abused. These are kids that may have lost a parent and feel confused and alone, and an abuser can easily step in and fill that role for the child and once that trust is created, the abuse can start.

A boy growing up in a single mother household looks up to his baseball coach and the coach says he’ll kick him off the team if he tells.

A girl whose mother goes through many boyfriends starts to receive attention like her mother gets, but from her male teacher.

A child with both parents busy with full-time jobs outside the home spends lots of time at the arcade and meets a college aged person who loves playing fighting games too.

A kid gets special attention from a counselor at bible camp and the parents are ignorant enough to think it’s really just 1-on-1 bible reading.

Uncle or Aunt Jesse pays attention to you while your parents are spending all their time and money on getting your sibling into that Olympics swimming program.