Dating sites for over forty

Young people can easily go on sites where they can connect with strangers — sometimes six or seven at one time.’Verity, 16, an A-level student from Cheshire, has been using My Space, MSN Messenger and online chat rooms to meet men for two years.

She is believed to have jumped after one person tried to sever contact with her, because she was under-age.

Professor Andrew Phippen, who led the research, believes such early exposure to sex as a soulless transaction — where pictures of body parts are traded over the internet like currency — distorts young women’s views of sex and relationships.

The men were always in charge, they’d obviously been watching a lot of porn and would ask me to replicate things they’d seen in videos.

But Becky is now choosing to speak out because, when she eventually told her friends about the mistakes she had made, it transpired that she was far from the only one who had become involved with strangers over the internet.

Police warned that such incidents were a growing national problem.

Indeed, a recent study by the University of Plymouth found that there is a generation of young women whose attitude to sex is being corrupted through new technology.Worryingly, while the sites are intended for over 18s, neither conducted verifiable age checks.With the online porn and dating industries exploding — the latter is worth £2.5 billion worldwide — experts are increasingly worried that extreme, and often risky, sexual behaviour among young people is being normalised by the internet.Becky’s own descent into this terrifying world began at the age of 15, when her boyfriend, to whom she lost her virginity, dumped her and made cruel taunts about her size 16 figure.She took refuge in anonymous chat rooms, controlling her image with flattering photographs.As part of their virtual courtship, Stuart — who claimed to be 24 — lavished her with compliments and asked her to send increasingly provocative photos of herself. Becky says: ‘We’d been chatting for a few months and sent sexual messages to each other a few times so, although it seems so stupid now, real sex seemed like the obvious next step.

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