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The character of Pedobear popular on 4Chan originally comes from the popular 2Chan character, Safety Bear.
The subject of Pedophilia is instantly divisive and is viewed by many as the most despised form of sexual deviation in modern societies. Because of this reason, many people seem to enjoy a certain feeling of schadenfreude in witnessing the exposure and punishment of perverts.
The Dateline special feature To Catch a Predator starring Chris Hansen and Perverted Justice gave the public a form of entertainment akin to the days of Ancient Rome when people gathered to watch criminals be torn to shred by wild animals, such as lions and bears. But rather than justice taking the form of being violently mauled to death, the pedophile’s identity and conduct were publicly exposed.
Due to 4chan’s anonymous nature, people tend to act without fear of retribution. Because of this, there are the occasional pedophiles swapping Child Pornography, or CP.
Pedobear serves to mock pedophiles. Urlesque offers an accurate description in their Beginner’s Guide to Pedobear.