Internet Crimes Against Children

With the internet becoming more ingrained in our daily lives, it is easy to ignore the dangers that come with it. Child pornography has become more prevelant on the internet due to the ease of distribution and the ease of production. Combating these individuals is a difficult task that takes coordination and cooperation over many law enforcement agencies and parents. Over the years, different organizations have been created for this purpose. One organization that has been well established is the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program which was created in 1998. The goal of this program is to educate state and local law enforcement agencies on how to respond to these threats against children over the internet, as well as how to educate parents on the dangers. There are 61 task forces across the country that coordinate efforts which have trained over 675,700 members, reviewed over 844,600 complaints, and arrested over 89,400 individuals due to the received complaints (ICAC).

Society has accepted these risks for the benefits that they gain from the internet and have learned ways to protect themselves against these online predators. However, young children are using the internet more often and are a very vulnerable population. Young children are being used for pornography or are being solicited for sexual acts by grown men. Children often see the good in people and do not automatically distrust strangers. It can be difficult for a young, innocent child to imagine that a grown man would masquerade as a young child or that they would lie about their intentions. It is our duty to protect our children from these predators by ensuring that they are safe online.

The DOJ released a report for protecting children, listing six key guidelines to follow to ensure their safety. Parents can talk with their children about these guidelines, tell them why it is important to follow them, and to talk with their parents about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. The guidelines are to:
-Discuss Internet safety with children
-Set limits about who they are allowed to communicate with
-Set limits about the type of device they can use and what applications they can use
-Use technology to protect them (set parameters online or check on what they are viewing)
-Pay attention to warning signs (mood changes)
-Report suspected abuse to authorities
(USAO-Michigan, 2020)

USAO-Michigan. (2020). U.S. Attorney’s Office Releases Tips for Protecting Children From Online Predators During COVID-19.

ICAC. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.

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One comment

  1. Hi, Emily – I both enjoyed and greatly appreciated your post. As the mother of two girls, I worried when they were younger about the Internet. My fears were mainly focused on body image issues stemming from social media posts, cyber bullying and the time they spent online. However, it is so important to talk to children about Internet-based predators. I find the most important of the six guidelines is talking to kids about the dangers. A simple “no” or placing parameters on their devices might inspire a child to break the rules, as strictness without communication can often inspire rebellion. Letting them know why it is dangerous and how they can maintain control of their own safety is a great way to both protect them and instill self-confidence. I remember reading a Berenstain Bears book to my younger daughter about stranger danger, and it included the smartest detail: it pointed out that while one apple on the tree may be rotten, most of them are very good. So while pointing out how they need to be careful with their information and wary of those they meet online, they also need to know that the world is not a big, scary, dangerous place, but one where they need to keep their eyes out for that one bad apple.
    Great post!!

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