The FBI and National Center For Missing and Exploited Children are warning parents and grandparents about the increasing risk to kids from online sex predators. That’s why they’re sharing three sites that can help you protect your children.
Antoinette T. Bacon, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York said that kids are spending more time online due to COVID-19 restriction. Everything from classes to clubs to playdates now take place in cyberspace. Oftentimes, adults aren’t familiar with the apps kids use. But that doesn’t mean predators don’t know how to use them. “They know where the kids are and how to reach them. Just as parents taught kids to be safe at home by locking the doors at night, parents must learn how to keep kids safe online. Computers can be scary. The internet can be intimidating. But in this case, ignorance is not bliss.”
“At NCMEC, we are dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse online wherever we find it and working to prevent the future victimization of children,” said Callahan Walsh, NCMEC Child Advocate. “With increased screen time experienced by both adults and children during the pandemic, the opportunities for exploiters to pray on our kids has only increased and we encourage parents to talk to their kids about being safe online.”
All of the experts agree that prevention is the key.
- NetSmartz has a number of websites with tool kits, games, videos for all ages, PowerPoints for educators, Tip Sheets and more. Go to NetSmartz.org
- Homeland Security Investigations and NCMEC just launched their SafetyPledge campaign, encouraging parents to pledge to talk with their children about this threat. Their website includes a tool kit packed with information. Go to SafetyPledge.org
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, entitled Safe Online Surfing, has resources categorized from 3rd grade through 8th grade, for teachers and students. Go to SOS.FBI.gov