The last years have seen an ever-increasing surge of indignation on the part of society in what concerns the so-called “child predators”, mostly in connection with the Internet. It is supposed to mean that the introduction of new technologies makes it easier for child predators to track their victims.
But, to tell the truth, the public opinion on this subject looks more and more like a mass hysteria. Child predators are undoubtedly disgusting people, but is it credible that there are thousands of them creeping behind every corner, waiting to grab an unsuspecting child at any moment? Do new technologies really change anything? Google Street View is usually mentioned there, said to giving the predator a possibility to see your child playing in the backyard or notice the position of your bedroom windows and suchlike. Couldn’t he do it without it?
Again and again one can see the recommendations for parents on the Internet, describing how one can distinguish a child predator from a usual person, and these tips would have been really funny if they weren’t so frightening. A child predator, they tend to say, is an overly nice person, appearing to like children, extremely polite and likable. Does it mean that every polite person is automatically put on the suspects list? Or that in order to avoid being suspected you should heap unprintable words on every old lady you encounter in the street?
Let alone the fact that accusation of pedophilia is an extremely convenient measure of influence. Virtually anyone may be accused and become an outcast among our hysterical society even if all the evidence contradicts this charge.
No one doubts, of course, that the phenomenon of child predators exists and represents certain danger. But this danger seems to be overestimated by far.