For Jonathan Baggaley, head of education at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, the biggest danger for young girls is the increasing use of webcams, which are now fitted to even the most basic computers.
My mum thought I was over at my friend’s house the whole time.’It would be easy to assume that such a degrading experience would put Becky off internet ‘dating’ for ever.But as an overweight, insecure teenager, she was desperate for the empty compliments that were showered on her in return for sexual favours — and the encounter was to mark the start of a five-year addiction to having sex with men she met on the internet.For a girl with little self-belief it was an easy way to boost her confidence and, with her limited relationship experience, she mistook prurient sexual interest for love.‘I’d come home from school, log on to the internet and my online boyfriends would ask how I was,’ she explained.Now she wants to help expose the appalling reality of the online traps awaiting teenage girls.
Earlier this month, a 14-year-old boy from Gloucestershire was arrested after posting a porn film on Facebook featuring himself and a girl of the same age.
Young people can easily go on sites where they can connect with strangers — sometimes six or seven at one time.’Verity, 16, an A-level student from Cheshire, has been using My Space, MSN Messenger and online chat rooms to meet men for two years.
She admits it’s become a round-the-clock preoccupation as she’s constantly inundated with messages.
She is believed to have jumped after one person tried to sever contact with her, because she was under-age.
Professor Andrew Phippen, who led the research, believes such early exposure to sex as a soulless transaction — where pictures of body parts are traded over the internet like currency — distorts young women’s views of sex and relationships.
Alone in a hotel room with a man she’d met only half-an-hour earlier, Becky Stevens knew it was too late to back out.