Sex offenders on online dating sites

A Crime Watch Daily undercover investigation has found that many women are playing a dangerous game of "romantic Russian Roulette" on Internet dating sites and apps like Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Zoosk, OKCupid and POF.Tinder users can swipe their way through more than 1.6 billion profiles every day.using Facebook] based upon their previous conviction.”Courts have imperfect guidelines for evaluating these cases, she says.“If you’re convicted of a crime and you serve your time, there are very few things that extend beyond that — like some states have felony disenfranchisements and that sort of stuff,” Robson explains.Constitutionally speaking, where can the line be drawn?There are already strict restrictions placed on where sex offenders can live in the real-world — how far can we go in limiting their existence in the virtual realm?

OK, so banning sex offenders from accessing most sites on the Web is unconstitutional, but what about banning them in more limited ways?

Until we have more definitive evidence on these differences — which would require hard-to-come-by research funding — Cantor says, “These people would best be treated on a case-by-case basis: An offender who used networking sites as part of his offense would be banned, but offenders using them for pro-social purposes, such as participating in support groups, would be encouraged.” After all, these days so much normal social interaction happens online.

It isn’t just that Cantor disbelieves in such broad and ineffective restrictions but also that it might backfire.

“We will have to wait years before we know whether re-offense rates change from the 10 to 15 percent that most long-term outcome studies show,” says James Cantor, a clinical and research psychologist and editor-in-chief of the scientific journal “Sexual Abuse.”It’s important to acknowledge that these attempts are easily circumvented by those willing to break the rules: For example, to make it onto a gaming platform, a New York state sex offender only has to create a new username that officials don’t have on file.

Sure, it’s now a crime to do so — but so too is abusing children.

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The aim of these approaches is understandable, but their effectiveness is questionable, and some experts see potential for it to backfire.

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