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Effects of automated messages on internet users attempting to access “barely legal” pornography


Prichard, J and Wortley, R and Watters, PA and Spiranovic, C and Hunn, CM and Krone, T, Effects of automated messages on internet users attempting to access 'barely legal' pornography, Sexual Abuse, 34, (1) pp. 106-124. ISSN 1079-0632 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© The Author(s) 2021

DOI: doi:10.1177/10790632211013809


With the increasing number of individuals accessing online child sexual exploitation material (CSEM), there is an urgent need for primary prevention strategies to supplement the traditional focus on arrest and prosecution. We examined whether online warning messages would dissuade individuals from visiting a honeypot website purporting to contain barely legal pornography. Participants (n = 419) seeking the site were randomly assigned to one of five conditions; they went straight to the landing page (control; n = 100) or encountered a warning message advising of the potential harm to viewers (n = 74), potential harm to victims (n = 65), ability of police to track IP addresses (n = 81), or possible illegality of such pornography (n = 99). We measured the attempted click-through to the site. Attrition rates for the warning message conditions were 38% to 52%, compared with 27% for the control group. The most effective messages were those that warned that IP addresses can be traced (odds ratio [OR] = 2.64) and that the pornography may be illegal (OR = 2.99). We argue that warning messages offer a valuable and cost-effective strategy that can be scaled up to help reduce the accessing of CSEM online.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:child sexual exploitation material, situational crime prevention, pop-ups, warning banners, deterrence messages, cyber-crime, prevention, automated messages
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Cybercrime
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Crime prevention
UTAS Author:Prichard, J (Associate Professor Jeremy Prichard)
UTAS Author:Spiranovic, C (Dr Caroline Spiranovic)
UTAS Author:Hunn, CM (Ms Charlotte Hunn)
ID Code:145685
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP160100601)
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2021-08-02
Last Modified:2022-05-17
Downloads:16 View Download Statistics

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