Prevention is key to combating cybersex. The clear need to encourage young people to exchange views and dialogue on the issue can be met to some extent through schools. There, educators are called upon to develop effective education programs for growth in managing affections and proper use of the internet, to reflect on its potential impact, using, for example, news stories to raise discussion in classrooms. When educators act on the issue with the collaboration of parents, it is noticeable that young people are more readily aware of what is at stake and the possible consequences of their choices.
The importance of informed dialogue
For some years now the United States has been developing an educational project, the National Health Education Standards, which seeks to articulate the affective-sexual dimension in the light of new technologies. Students were first informed about the possible criminal consequences of visiting child pornography sites, sexual advances to children, accidental or unsolicited distribution of pornographic material and spontaneous practices such as sexting. The project also focused on a number of issues that are the subject of training and teaching in the areas of sexuality, identity and self-knowledge, as well as the ability to engage in healthy relationships.
The project was designed for primary and secondary school. It has not failed to bear fruit, even if on the whole it is rather lacking in terms of education in values and emotional maturity. Over the course of 10 years (2000-2010), the number of underage users who received unwanted sexual advances has almost halved, as has the number of intrusions from unwanted pornographic sites, which bodes well for an increasingly healthy use of the web.