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The past decade has seen rapid development and exponential growth in the use of electronic, computer-based communication and information sharing via the Internet, particularly across the Western world.

Clearly there are many benefits that result from Internet usage, but until recently there has been little recognition of the dangers that may also result from the use of such technology.

Current efforts to prevent Internet-related child abuse are described.These can be broadly categorised as: the monitoring and criminal prosecution of offenders; community education; the restriction of children's access to offensive material on the Internet; and the regulation of the Internet industry.The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for further action.The past decade has seen the rapid development and tremendous growth in the use of electronic, computer-based communication and information sharing via the "Internet".Defined as a "decentralised, self-maintaining series of links between computer networks", the Internet operates throughout much of the world, and particularly the Western world (Barr 2001).

Never designed as a mass communication medium, the Internet was originally developed by the US Defence Department in the 1950s as a means of connecting the Department's internal computers.The speed at which society has adopted this technology, its spread internationally and its significant penetration into work, school and family life, has been described by some as a "revolution" (Slattery 2001: 13).Typically, Australians adopt new technology rapidly and the uptake of computer technology and use of the Internet is proving to be no exception.Australia is currently the third highest Internet user, after the United States and Sweden (Editor 2001a).In 2000, more than half of Australian households had at least one computer, 34 per cent being connected to the Internet (Editor 2001a; k 2000, reporting Australian Bureau of Statistics figures).Children and young people, in particular, have readily embraced the new communication medium.