The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 4,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies are continually engaged in proactive and reactive investigations and prosecutions of persons involved in child abuse and exploitation involving the internet
Below you will find important information that can keep you, your family, and your friends safe from the very real dangers of Internet child sexual exploitation. We’ve included safety and educational information for parents and kids, as well as links to sites where you can find additional information about Internet safety
Chat rooms, social media, file sharing, and mobile apps have become extremely popular for children in today’s society. Unfortunately, this technology can be dangerous to children, either through their own actions or their interactions with others.
The internet has created a virtual playground that has allowed individuals to hide their true identity while gaining access to a variety of personal information. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to harass, threaten or intimidate children, further putting them at risk.
The danger of child pornography
Child pornography is created worldwide and is readily available on the Internet to those who actively seek it. Anyone can purchase a computer, gain internet access and immediately begin collecting and distributing child pornography. Once a pedophile possesses this contraband, he/she can quickly contact children through social media accounts and chat rooms. Over time, these pedophiles gather personal information from their intended victims and, in the worst cases, go to great lengths and expense to meet their victims face-to-face. These meetings often result in kidnapping and sexual assault. New child pornography is generated frequently from these assaults, repeating this destructive cycle.
The Internet is a great place to learn, enjoy games and hang out with friends. However, it can also be deceptively dangerous place if you fall into the trap of thinking it can’t happen to me.
Online predators are real, and anyone – you, your friends, your brothers or sisters, even your parents – can be victimized by an online predator. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by following these basic safety tips
Cyber bullying is categorized as:
Nasty and/or threatening instant messaging or texting session
Repeated messages sent to a cell phone or social media account
A website set up to mock others
Pretending to be someone else while posting online (i.e. “hacking”)
Forwarding private messages, pictures and/or videos to others
Videotaping violent physical altercations and posting them online to sites such as Youtube, Vine, Instagram etc.
Creating anonymous social media profiles, blogs or websites to make fun of a specific group of people or to facilitate and continue hurtful gossip. (These accounts are often referred to as “slam,” “burn,” “air it out,” or “blast” accounts.)
POSTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
Never give out identifying information online (e.g. name, photo, age, address, school name, financial information, telephone number, etc.) unless you have parental permission.
Do not use a screen name that can be traced back to you (e.g. initials, address, age, etc.) or that identifies your gender.
Tell your parents if someone sends you nude images (pornography). It’s a crime and should be investigated.
Tell your parents or teachers if you are concerned about one of your friends arranging such a meeting your friend’s safety could be at risk.
SEXUAL PREDATORS ARE ONLINE
Someone claiming online to be a 12 year-old girl may be a 40 year-old man. Meeting them face-to face may be dangerous – even if you’re accompanied by friends or family or in a public space.
Never respond to instant messages or emails that are suggestive, obscene, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable. Tell your parents if you encounter such messages.
SOCIAL MEDIA/MOBILE APPS
You must be at least 13 years old to legally have an account on most major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, Snapchat, etc.)
You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via any social media account.
With mobile computing so widespread, parents, guardians, educators and community leaders must learn how to keep up with technology to better protect our children. While the Ohio ICAC Task Force does work to uncover and prosecute child predators, you, as the parent, are the most effective guardian of your child’s safety. The impact you can make on your child’s life as an involved and informed parent is monumental.
Know your children’s ID’s and passwords to all of their devices, apps, email and social media accounts. Randomly check the accounts and be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.
Talk to your child about online sexual victimization and potential online dangers.
Keep your child’s computer in an open area of your home, not in your child’s bedroom. Do not allow your child to hide computer activity from you.
Spend time with your children online; know their online friends and habits, and do not allow them to create a personal profile online or otherwise give out identifying information such name, address, school name or phone number.
Set rules for computer use for your children, discuss them and make sure that they are followed; teach them the responsible use of online resources.
Monitor the amount of time your children spend online. Excessive use, especially late at night, may indicate a problem.
Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child’s school, the public library, and at the homes of your child’s friends.
Instruct your children to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online.
Review what is on your child’s computer. If you don’t know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.
Use Caller ID to determine who is calling your child, as well as who your child is calling.
PROTECT YOUR Wi-Fi:
Always make sure your wireless signal is password protected, and can only be accessed by those living in your home.
Unsecured wireless (Wi-Fi) signals can be exploited by predators to access the internet. To investigators, illegal activity would appear to come from your residence. You would have no idea that someone was using your Internet signal.
If you witness or experience cyber bullying, inappropriate posts or messages, or any other behavior that makes you or your child feel uncomfortable, immediately tell law enforcement.
To create a cybertip with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), go to cybertipline.com, and click “make a cybertipline report”. Include all pertinent details of the situation: screenshots, usernames and dates.
MY CHILD HAS BEEN CYBER BULLIED:
If your child is cyber bullied, delete their profile on the online account and have a talk with your child about overcoming bullying. If you know the bully and their parents, attempt to peacefully reconcile the situation parent to parent.
If you do not know the bully, create a cybertip with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
If you feel something illegal has occurred, make a report with local law enforcement.
AN ADULT HAS CONTACTED MY CHILD ONLINE:
Do NOT retaliate or respond to posts, emails or multi-media content.
Gather evidence and document the incident including photographs of the screen or cell phone.
Do NOT delete anything.
Do NOT conduct your own investigation. All evidence should be turned over to law enforcement.
Make a detailed report to local law enforcement.
Make a NCMEC cybertip, noting which police department you have contacted locally.