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Sexual predators on the Internet: their traits and strategies of manipulation

Sexual predators on the Internet: their traits and strategies of manipulation

June 17, 2024

Between 1915 and 1919, a French man named Henri Désiré Landru killed at least eleven women, although the police estimated that the actual number of his victims exceeded one hundred.

Taking advantage of the effects of war, he published advertisements in the newspapers in which he presented himself as a well-positioned man He wanted to meet a widow and, after meeting his victims, he made them disappear by staying with his fortune.

Currently, this way of attracting victims through the media has been refined with the appearance of the Internet. The network of networks allows to have a series of resources that make a trap look like an opportunity in which the danger is surprisingly camouflaged.


But... What characteristics define predators? In what way do they act?

The profile of the digital predator

People who set traps through the Internet to meet people and kill or abuse them are, mostly, men between 18 and 60 years. Beyond this physical description, however, there are a whole series of psychological and skill characteristics that explain how they act to set the trap. They are the following:

1. They are very skilled at detecting vulnerabilities

The masking offered by the anonymity of the Internet makes it surprisingly easy to know details of the victims that can be used to intuit their vulnerabilities.


On the one hand, social networks offer the possibility of knowing a significant amount of information about a person: musical tastes, the most visited places, how is the circle of friends, etc.

On the other hand, the fact of not being face to face with a person makes it easier to reveal intimate information , among other things because you lose the fear of seeing how the interlocutor reacts uncomfortably.

These two factors mean that the digital predator can exploit their abilities when it comes to offering a personal image that fully fits with what the other person seeks or wants to get to know. To fall well is easier if there are tastes in common, if you pretend to have gone through similar experiences, etc.

In other words, these people are very good at reading between the lines and imagining what are the vulnerabilities by which the other person can be made to act in predictable ways.


2. Act alone

The possibility of acting through the Internet means that sexual predators do not need anyone's help to weave their plan; If they want, can pretend to be two people at a time to influence the victim more, using false user profiles. At the moment of tracing the trap their efforts are fundamentally intellectual, and in that aspect they are self-sufficient and very methodical.

3. They know how to use advertising resources

Digital predators are able to design advertisements that are especially attractive for that victim profile that they want to attract. They use messages that they capture attention at the moment and they express a clear message , and place them in forums, applications to meet people, specific virtual groups, etc.

Sometimes, they can make the content of their message fit with what is known about a potential victim so that, once published in a group with a relatively small number of people, someone will notify whoever is interested. If this attempt fails, you can modify the ad and republish it.

This way of attracting victims makes the defense of the other person go down, since it is entered into a psychological framework in which it is the victim who must "seduce" the predator, which makes it has much room for maneuver.

4. The abuse of depersonalization

Depersonalization, which consists of perceiving others as objects, is one of the characteristics of people with a high level of psychopathy or narcissism, and in the case of digital predators is also very present.

The Internet only reinforces this degree of depersonalization, which makes the potential guilt feeling, which is already very low in psychopaths, disappear Almost completely.

The predator of digital media takes advantage of both the options of covering their identity with a false user profile and the advantages of not having to interact face to face with the other person until the trap is already laid and "there is no march behind".

5. Set long-term goals

In cases where the trap is not an advertisement, sexual predators who seek victims through the Internet are able to set a long-term goal so that the time to appear seems a natural step with fewer implications.

Currently it is relatively normal to have constant contact with people who are not known in person, and this makes this kind of traps are hidden. At the beginning it may be that there is distressing conversation and that, after a few weeks, you start talking. This is done because in this way by the time the dialogue has begun, the victim has already begun to get used to the presence (virtual, at the moment) of the other.

Contrary to what is believed, sexual predators they do not have to be clearly impulsive, and in fact this is penalized ; In the case of those who act through the Internet, your plan needs to have a series of intermediate steps to function.

  • Related article: "Profile of the psychological abuser: 21 features in common"
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