We’ve been around a very, very long time now in terms of internet years. Back when we started in 2003, there was no twitter, no facebook and google wasn’t much more than a search engine. Amazon was mostly known for selling books, even!
Without social networking, most socializing online when we started up happened in large chat rooms on the networks of the major players at the time. MSN chats, AOL chats and Yahoo chats. Thusly, we set ourselves up to put decoy profiles into those chats, mostly focusing on regional chat rooms to deal with the issue of adults preying on minors online.
With our early work doing stings with local media, the issue came to national prominence. That work led to hundreds of convictions and laws across the country being enacted to deal with this issue.
Meanwhile, the element we were inspired to work, chat rooms, all died off. Some due to the fact that the attention and trouble caused by the media exposure of internet predators had made them unattractive to continue operating. Others died off later on as social networking made them obsolete. Few remnants of the chat-room era of the internet still exist at this point.
As the internet changed, elements like twitter and social networking in general has spread the problem wide and thin. Internet predators are no longer confined to mostly a few deep wells as they were when we started up. Internet access for younger generations is ubiquitous, they’re connected at an earlier age each year with technology in their hands that far exceed the power of PC’s we used when starting this website long ago.
In many ways, this can be viewed positively or negatively. With far more varied activities online, there’s fewer places where everyone congregates. This means that a potential predator cannot just sit in an online room and talk up every young adult that enters with ease. Also positively, people are well aware of the risk of arrest when doing so as every state has a law on the books and TCAP is well known among adults at this juncture.
Negatively, this does mean that a determined adult wanting to molest kids can make use of technology to try to ensure that he’s actually talking More hints to a child. It means the challenge of «patrolling» the internet for such activity is also far more difficult, given the immense explosion of social activity websites and apps that have popped up since the origins of our site.
As we’ve grown older, we’re less able to keep up technologically. With every kid having access to an internet connected camera, the challenges of convincingly portraying children online has evolved away from «everyone being able to» to requiring extremely young looking adults over the age of 20 to be able to do so effectively.
We’re sure that there’s a way to run a site like this in this era, where you can still generate a ount of caseload. Police nowadays are far more open to talking to citizens with information than they were back when we started, due to the work and foundation we established with the 99% conviction rate that our work led to, all across the country. It will be up to future generations to figure out the best way to efficiently get internet predators arrested, and to figure out the best way to use newer technologies to fake being underage convincingly.