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  • Seoul analyses underaged digital sex perpetrator counseling cases : 96 percent thought “it was not a serious wrongdoing”
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Press Releases

  • Seoul analyses underaged digital sex perpetrator counseling cases : 96 percent thought “it was not a serious wrongdoing”

  • Press Releases SMG 404
    • The Seoul Metropolitan Government launched the counseling program for underaged digital sex perpetrators for the first time in the country in September 2019.
    • According to its first program result paper, 63 percent of teenaged offenders were middle school students aged 14 to 16, and nine out of ten underaged perpetrators said they had thought digital sex crimes as not-so-serious wrongdoings.
    • The city said it will recruit 1,000 citizens who become members of the “digital sex crime monitoring group” to create a safer environment for the Internet.

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 27, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government launched the counseling program for underaged digital sex perpetrators for the first time in the country in September 2019. Such a program was made as an effort to prevent digital sex crimes like the “Nth Room” case that shocked the entire nation by running a group chat room sharing photos and videos of violent sex acts.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government recently released its first counseling program result paper.

    According to the paper, counseling services had been provided to 91 teenagers in total, and 63 percent of them were middle school students aged 14 to 16. Minors who participated in the city’s counseling program were those who had been punished according to school disciplinary policies for digital sex crimes or who had been asked to take the program by teachers and parents.

    21 percent of them said they had been involved in digital sex crimes because they thought “it was not a serious wrongdoing,” and 19 percent said they did it “for fun” or “out of curiosity,” respectively. 15 percent responded “impulsively,” ten percent “just followed what others did,” and four percent “because I thought it was mutually agreed to do so.” By type of perpetration, “posting or sharing illegally filmed footages on the Internet” accounted for 43 percent, followed by “illegally filming videos” with 19 percent, “possessing illegally filmed videos” with 11 percent, and “distributing false videos” with six percent.

    A fifteen-year-old teenager, identified as Park, one of the students who took the counseling program, said he happened to watch videos illegally filmed at toilets on social network webpages when he was an elementary schoolchild and continued to watch more videos out of curiosity, and tried to film girls by himself at toilets and buses until he was caught.

    The city’s support cases for the victims of digital sex crimes in 2020 found that 19 percent (31 people) were children or teenagers, and 22 percent (423 cases) were victimized by “online grooming”that is the process of establishing trust in order to take advantage of someone sexually.

    In most cases, underaged victims were forced to take sexually exploitative photos by peer perpetrators they met on online game platforms or group chat rooms.

    In recognition of the seriousness of minors’ digital sex crimes, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the “Integrated Support Program Exclusively for Digital Sexual Violence by Children and Minors” and provides its full-fledged support to victims – from counseling services to police investigation and writing complaints. The city said it offered 1,323 perpetrators customized counseling to reduce second offense through the counseling programs for teenaged perpetrators.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it will recruit 1,000 citizens who become members of the “digital sex crime monitoring group” to create a safer environment for the Internet, which children and teenagers mainly use. The monitoring group will detect illegally filmed videos on the web portals and social networking websites and report them to the companies the illegal videos are uploaded. They also keep eyes on how long it takes to delete them and whether the reporting system is in place.

    In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to set up an integrated response center for digital sex crimes in 2022. The city government will integrate related programs through the center to provide all-out support from preventing digital sex crimes to supporting victims.