Smartphones play growing role in sex offences against minors: NPA

A total of 467 minors were sexually victimized by people they met on social networking services accessed on smartphones from July to December 2013, according to a National Police Agency (NPA) study.

“We’d like parents and guardians to pay close attention to how their children are using these sites,” an NPA official stated. The number of minors victimized after accessing the sites via smartphone was 1.7 times greater than the previous record, set in the first half of 2013.

Overall in 2013, 1,293 minors were sexually victimized by perpetrators they met on social networking sites, of which 695 cases occurred in the second half of the year.

The NPA has been tracking the Internet access methods of such victims since 2010, with 90 percent of the minors using mobile phones every year since. The number of those using smartphones, however, has risen sharply in recent years, and now makes up 67 percent of the total. Popular social networking apps include Line and Kakao Talk, both of which offer free phone calls and text messages.

According to the NPA study, 115 of the victims in the second half of the year said they hadn’t told their parents they were using the social networking sites, while 104 stated their parents issued no warnings or instructions. Five said they’d told their parents the services were game sites. Overall, 58 percent of 384 victims who participated in the study had never been warned by their parents or guardians about the potential dangers of using the services.

Also according to an NPA study, over 70 percent of the 766 people suspected in these smartphone-based sex offences stated they were motivated “by the desire to have sex with children.” About 20 percent committed their offense either on the same day or the day after meeting the underage victim online.

May 20, 2014(Mainichi Japan)

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