No, lolicon and pedophilia is NOT the same. Of course, a lolicon can also be a pedophile, but they are not the same.
Personally, I mostly use the terms "loli" and "lolicon" in regards to fictional characters, which pretty much means anime, manga and bishoujo games for me. As a "consumer" of Japanese ero-games, I want to give my opinion on this matter.
I personally like the "loli" characters in ero-games (note that I play only translated ones). This preference doesn't stem from appearance only, but also from personality. Real age (as real as a fictional character can have) is irrelevant when it comes these characters; if they have a youthful/childish/innocent personality, and an appearance that doesn't stand in stark contrast to it (or vice versa), they pretty much fit my definition of "loli".
When it comes to the majority of ero-games, it's clear that characters are designed to appeal to the players (predominantly males, though many women also play them). Some games sport artwork that caters the fans of big breasts (and I mean BIG
, which I personally dislike), some that caters fans of cosplay (Nurses, angels, many others), or cat/dog/bunny-girls, or girls with glasses etc. A lot of games mix the different types, maybe in order to appeal to a wider audience. Another thing about ero-games is that they sometimes use a specific fetish as a theme, like bondage, S&M, or rape or whatever, but that's a different topic.
Anyway, while I have a preference for the loli characters, I certainly don't feel the same about younger girls in real life. I'm 24, and my personal "comfort zone" when it comes to girls/women in real life lies around the ages 19-26. Anime/manga/game characters are often made to be attractive to people, and while some guys never feel anything beyond the "cute/kawaii/moe" area, others can find them sexually attractive.
Someone mentioned Card Captor Sakura. While I haven't read any of the mangas or seen the anime (I assume there is one), I have taken a look at the character. Personally, I'd say she is not a loli, she is simply young because of the story she is in. She doesn't have any features I find attractive as a guy, she's simply a child, and I very much doubt she was designed to appeal sexually to anyone.
But there's not really any clear definition of loli or lolicon. It's like so many other things, it's different for each person. Even when it comes to ero-game characters, I have a certain limit before the "young" appearance becomes a bit too low for my tastes. Take an example under here:
That is Hisui from G-Collections' newest game, Jewel Knights: Crusaders
. She's clearly loli, and I find her just about at the limit of how young-looking they can be before they look too young for me. There are (in Japan) games that use art that makes girls look like they are hardly 5 years old (which I'm sure some will claim Hisui look like). That is waaaay too much (or rather, too little) for me. Not from a political or moral point of view; I simply don't find them attractive at that point. From a moral point of view, I don't think fictional sex is any worse and fictional murder, regardless of who/what is involved. It's fiction. Some will dislike one thing much more than the other, but to claim one of them is morally "wrong" because of that just shows ignorance and hypocrisy.