Going rogue: Amateur paedophile hunters online

Should sites like TikTok allow paedophile hunting groups to stream video of alleged abusers? 

This week, TikTok removed an Australian account allegedly set up to entrap paedophiles and capture them on film, citing violations to its community guidelines.

The NSW-based account, “Pervert Productions,” which had thousands of views and likes, featured videos of men seemingly lured from a dating app to “meet an underage kid.”

Such armchair vigilante accounts are increasingly popular across many social platforms. But New South Wales police are warning the public against taking the law into their own hands. Suspected predatory behaviour needs to be reported to police, they warn, not posted to online followers.

A growing trend

Kicked off by the controversial US TV show To Catch a Predator, which ended in 2008, the phenomenon of amateur paedophile hunting on social media is hardly new. Facebook pages devoted to it have existed for years and garnered hundreds of thousands of followers. 

predatorBut the trend has grown rapidly in recent times, as popular streaming video platforms like TikTok ensure heightened interest at a time when child exploitation activity has reached epidemic proportions.

Heroic - or downright dangerous?

One of the oldest self-styled “paedophile hunting” groups is a Scottish organisation known as Wolf Pack Hunters. For over a decade, the group and others like it have been using adult decoys pretending to be children in an effort - often successful - to bait potential abusers.

According to a recent report in The Guardian, such groups are often highly organised and highly effective and have been successfully funnelling evidence to the courts to obtain convictions for years. 

But they have also attracted sharp criticism. Cases of mistaken identity, blackmail, mob violence and even suicides have been linked to some of their work, and police do not endorse the public taking the law into their own hands. 

"It's fraught with problems," agrees Family Zone cyber expert Brett Lee. Director of the cyber safety consultancy Internet Safe Education, Lee investigated hundreds of child exploitation cases as an undercover detective with Queensland Police. 

Like many other professionals, Lee is dubious about self-proclaimed success stories, having experienced first-hand how much hard work goes into a successful sting operation. "No one asked the question why these people can find paedophiles so easily, when skilled professionals struggle to get convictions."

Interested to learn more? Check out Brett Lee's Screen Resolution, a compelling and instructive account of his experience as a professional paedophile hunter .

 

Keeping track of the latest online challenges - and using strong, flexible parental controls - are the two best ways to keep your kids safe. 

With Family Zone, you can do both. Start your free trial today!

 

 

Tell me more!

Topics: Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, online safety, sexual abuse of children, paedophile, child exploitation, child predator

    Try Family Zone for FREE

    Sign up now to try Family Zone for 1 month, totally free of charge.

    Free Trial
    Subscribe to our newsletter
    Follow us on social media
    Popular posts
    Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | roblox
    Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids
    Parental Controls | Mobile Apps | Cyber Safety | teens on social media
    Can we talk? 100 questions your teen might actually answer
    Parental Controls | Screen time | youtube | smartphones | WhatsApp | suicide | self-harm | momo
    MOMO unmasked
    Parental Controls | Screen time | online gaming | roblox | sleep
    Family Zone: Now blocking Roblox with a single click
    Parental Controls | Screen time | teens on social media | wellbeing | dating app
    Swipe right for trouble: Six teen dating apps parents need to know about
    Cyber Bullying | Parental Controls | Screen time | Mobile Apps | Cyber Safety | online predators | tiktok | paedophile | child predator | Likee
    LIKEE: What parents need to know about this risky TikTok wannabe

    Recent posts

     
    Press the reset button on your kid’s online routine

    COVID blew up our teens’ screen-time. It’s time to get them back on track. In the wake of the COVID pandemic, our children are facing a ...

     
    Bigger families face super-sized screen-time challenges

    If you have more than one child - and statistics show 86 percent of families do - then managing screen-time can be double trouble. Or ...

     
    'Bigorexia' a growing risk for today's boys

    We’re starting to understand how social media can damage girls’ self-esteem - but what about our boys? New research finds disturbing ...

     
    The metaverse: Brave new world - or an upgrade for predators?

    Mixing kids and adult strangers in a self-moderated online environment ... What could possibly go wrong?