‘If my parents find out, I will not see my phone anymore’: Who do children choose to disclose online sexual solicitation to?

Netanel Gemara*, Faye Mishna, Carmit Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Child online sexual solicitation has become a significant form of child sexual abuse. Disclosure of online sexual solicitation is a multifaceted and complex process. The role of the disclosure recipient is crucial in the disclosure process, with respect to the initiation of the disclosure, how much children disclose, recantations and the children's well-being. The current study aimed to explore children's experiences, perceptions, challenges and obstacles regarding disclosing online sexual solicitation as revealed in their forensic interviews. The sample, obtained from the Service of Forensic Interviews with Children in Israel, included 32 Israeli children who were sexually solicited online and participated in forensic interviews. A thematic qualitative methodology was used to analyse the children's narratives. The findings demonstrated that children tend to disclose online sexual solicitation to their peers and not to their parents. The children provided three main reasons for this tendency: sexuality, technology and the recipient's response. The current study's findings highlight the important role of peers in the disclosure process of online sexual solicitation. Moreover, the findings reveal children's difficulties disclosing online sexual solicitation to their parents. Practical implications of children's online sexual solicitation disclosure, future recommendations and study limitations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Family Social Work
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • child sexual abuse
  • disclosure recipients
  • forensic interviews
  • online sexual solicitation

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