REB # 2021-001

Exploring the Use of Online Forums in those who are Sexually Attracted to Children.


Study Information:


Title: Exploring the Use of Online Forums in those who are Sexually Attracted to Children


What is the study purpose? You are invited to participate in an online study aiming to understand the use of online forums by people who are sexually attracted to children. We have no financial interest in conducting this study.


Am I eligible to participate? You are eligible to participate in this study if you are age 18 or older and if you identify as an individual who is sexually attracted to children under the age of 15 years old. As the survey is in English, you should also be confident in your ability to understand the English language.


What does my participation involve? You will be completing an anonymous online survey that will take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete. No personally identifying information will be collected (e.g., IP address). There will be no way for the investigators to link to your specific survey and you will remain anonymous through your participation.


What will I be asked? You will be asked questions about your participation in online forums/support groups aimed at those who are sexually attracted to children. You will not be asked about past or present sexual behaviour.


What are the benefits? Your survey data will contribute to the literature on the role of online forums for people who are sexually attracted to children.


What are the risks? You will be asked to volunteer information regarding aspects of your sexual preferences, experiences within online forums, and about individuals in your personal life who might know about your sexual attraction to children. Some of these questions could make you feel uncomfortable.


Efforts to safeguard and anonymize information have been taken; however, you may want to take additional precautions to protect your anonymity. For example, you might choose to avoid completing the survey in a public space, delete browser history, or use other security measures. The survey has been hosted on Soscisurvey, which allows you to complete the survey if you are using TOR browsers.


You may contact Dr. Michael Seto or the Research Ethics Board at the Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research if you have any concerns. Please remember that by contacting the researchers or the Research Ethics Board, we will be aware of your participation in the study, but we will not be able to connect you to your individual responses.


What will be done with my information? The information you share will be anonymous and will only be used for research purposes. You will be anonymous as no personal identifying information will be gathered. This means that you cannot be connected to your responses to the survey. 


Privacy. Your privacy is protected by the server (no storage of IP addresses; use of SSL encryption with a signed certificate; server is secured against unauthorized access according to common standards; access to the server is SSH-encrypted; the questionnaires do not use any cookies). The data you provide is securely held on a server in Germany. There is very little risk associated with storing data in an outside server in Germany; in fact, “in an international comparison, Germany offers a very high level of data protection - both with regard to the obligations of companies as well as with regard to governmental/agency access and interference” (see Further, the data are subject to legal regulations such as the Federal Data Protection Act, and the EU General Data Protection Regulation.


Please note that you are free to withdraw from the study at any point in time by closing your web browser and incomplete studies will be deleted manually; however, due to anonymization it is not possible to delete data after completing the survey.


The data will be stored on password protected computers belonging to the researchers and will be stored for ten (10) years. The only individuals allowed to access the information will be members of the research team. Once data is collected and analyzed, the results will be shared through presentations, journal articles, or seminars.


How can I withdraw from the study? Your participation in this study is voluntary and you may withdraw at any point in time by exiting your web browser. If you choose to withdraw, your data will be destroyed and not analyzed. Once the study is complete, researchers will not be able to remove your answers because no identifiable information will be included.


How can I get more information? If you have any questions about the study or would like to see the results, you may contact the researchers by email:


Principal Investigator:

Michael Seto, Ph. D., C. Psych,

Director, Forensic Research Unit

The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research



Study Coordinator:

Kailey Roche, MSc.

Department of Psychology

Carleton University


Please note that if you contact the investigators directly, you will be identifying yourself and it will be known that you have completed the survey. Results for this study are anticipated to be completed by September of 2021 and will be available upon request by email. You can also find a summary of results on the online forums where we previously posted recruitment information.


Certification: This study has been reviewed and approved by the Institute of Mental Health Research REB as study #2021-001. If you have any ethical concerns about the study, or the way it is conducted, please contact the REB office:

Exploring the Use of Online Forums in those who are Sexually Attracted to Children.

Please consider the following statements:

I understand what this study is about, appreciate the risks and benefits, and that by consenting I agree to take part in this research study and do not waive any rights to legal recourse in the event of research-related harm.
I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I can end my participation at any time without penalty.
I have had adequate time to think about the research study and to make an informed decision about my participation.
Do you consent to participating in this study?