No-one knows you're a dog on the internet: Implications for proactive police investigation of sexual offenders

Robyn Lincoln*, Ian R. Coyle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


There is a body of literature dealing with the increased capacity for deception in online environments. This corpus of academic work has relevance for the widespread public concern about the anonymity of the Internet with respect to children who may be contacted by sex offenders. The present paper reports findings from a deception condition study where pairs of subjects engaged in computer-mediated interaction and were asked to evaluate the age and sex of their interlocutors. They were generally successful at this and tended to base their decisions on the content of the conversation. It demonstrates that individuals, despite the anonymity theoretically offered by the Internet, can discern the age and sex of those they are conversing with online, which has implications for police training and practice when engaged in online covert operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-300
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


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