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The Different Types of Online Solicitation of a Minor

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski
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Protecting children is a top priority for community leaders and lawmakers alike. However, lawmakers struggle to keep up with rapidly changing technologies and their widespread use among minors and adults alike. Social media apps, internet, and gaming platforms such as Xbox, Playstation, or phone games, can make it easy for minors to interact with complete strangers. These technologies have made these challenges more difficult as old laws fail to adequately address the issues presented by the evolving tech landscape.

Social media and it’s many forms can be problematic for lawmakers who seek to protect children while also respecting the right to privacy, free speech, individual freedoms, and other protected rights of citizens. Adding to the confusion are the rise of artificial intelligence, misinformation, bots, and fake online personas. In 2022 alone, Facebook attempted to remove over 1.5 billion fake accounts. The percentage of fake accounts on other platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, are likely similar. In our modern world, it’s becoming more difficult to know what’s real and who is real online.

The proliferation of fake accounts make it difficult for kids and/or adults to know who’s on the other side of the screen, app or game controller. Even with advanced filters and software protections, one can easily be fooled by an imposter or potential predator. The old saying “trust no one” certainly applies to all of these popular platforms.

Meanwhile, it’s estimated that 20% of all children receive an unwanted sexual solicitation online every year. On top of that, about 3% of children receive an aggressive sexual solicitation in a given year. Experts estimate that there are about 50,000 predators on the internet who sexually solicit minors.

However, there are a lot of nuances to charges of online solicitation of a minor and gray areas where innocent people may unknowingly cross the line. It is necessary to understand these nuances to comprehend the nature of a specific charge.

Understanding more about these different types of solicitation charges can also make it easier to understand what kind of online activities are prohibited by the law for the protection of minors and how to avoid any activity that could cross the legal line. So what are the different kinds of online solicitation of a minor?

Read on to learn all about these different types of online solicitation charges.

Grooming Violates Online Solicitation Laws

Online solicitiation charges are nothing to take lightly. When facing an online solicitation charge, it is essential to find the best defense lawyer Texas has to offer. The punishments for online solicition are severe and can lead to imprisonment as well as sex offender registration. Additionally, Texas courts have the highest conviction rates in the nation and routinely seek the harshest punishments possible.

Even in Texas one is considered innocent until proven guilty and there is a lot that a criminal defense attorney can do to help defend people who have been accused of such crimes. So what are the common types of online solicitation of a minor?

Grooming is one of the subtler activities that can lead to online solicitation charges. Grooming is a process that attempts to make minors more vulnerable to sexual exploitation later on.

For example, a predator might spend a lot of time getting to know a minor target. They might give them many compliments and provide them with a lot of attention. Over time, groomers might attempt to escalate to more sexual behaviors.

Grooming can also involve giving gifts. It can include anything that leads minors to become susceptible to sexual advances.

Groomers may also attempt to exploit minors by introducing them to pornography. Some predators imagine that simply building a friendly relationship and emotional connection with a minor does not make them vulnerable to online solicitation laws. However, the more sexual such conversations and relationships become, the more seriously they will tend to violate solicitation laws.

The Dangers of Sexting

In other cases, online predators think that they might not be vulnerable to solicitation laws as long as they do not request that the minor in question engage in sexual behaviors. However, a court will often determine that an adult sending explicit images or messages to a minor will count as an attempt to solicit sex. That applies even if the minor is participating and seems willing to receive such messages.

Some people assume that they will not be guilty as long as they do not send any videos or pictures. However, sending explicit text messages to a minor can also count as a solicitation. Of course, that goes double if someone attempts to persuade a minor to send their own sexual messages, pictures, or videos.

This applies no matter which platform is used for communication. These days, minors are using dating and social media platforms more than ever. In some cases, this can lead to accidental solicitation of a minor.

Some people also meet minors on online gaming platforms. On such platforms, it is often impossible to verify someone’s age. Even asking questions about a minor’s sex life can count as a solicitation.

Sometimes, minors even accidentally create child pornography. They may not realize that creating sexual videos or images of themselves can count as pornography. There is also an increasing prevalence of undercover sting operations. The police may pose as minors in an attempt to find online predators.

It is important to make sure that you are speaking with an adult before engaging in any kind of sexting behavior.

Solicitation of Prostitution Applies Online

Of course, literally soliciting a minor for sex is the classic example of online solicitation of a minor. In some cases, people attempt to persuade minors to agree to sexual activities by offering them payment. This payment can take the form of money or even gifts in some situations.

Again, this applies no matter what platform is being used for communication. Some people solicit someone for prostitution without even realizing that they are a minor.

That can be more likely to happen if a minor has ended up participating in a prostitution ring. However, it can also apply if a minor is offering to sell pictures or images on popular dating platforms. In such cases, you will need the help of an online solicitation lawyer.

Arranging Sexual Travel Plans

Some people imagine that they will not be guilty as long as they do not intend to carry out any plans to travel for sex. However, even making such plans with a minor can count as online solicitation of a minor. Arguing that the plans were only a fantasy will generally not be enough to escape an online solicitation charge.

Know the Different Types of Online Solicitation of a Minor

Facing a charge of online solicitation of a minor can be devastating. It is essential to understand the different types of online solicitation of a minor. That can clarify your legal situation and options.

Finding the right online solicitation lawyer can be essential to defend against this serious charge. Defense attorney Andrea M. Kolski has a twenty year track record of success defending those accused of online solicitation and other offenses. To learn more about how you can find the best criminal defense attorney for your situation, reach out and get in touch with us here at any time!

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