My Child Will Not be a Victim

As Task Force investigators, we often work cases involving the victimization of children and teens, including everything from online harassment and sextortion to physical sexual abuse. One pattern is increasingly prevalent amongst these victims:

The parents do not typically monitor their child's online activity.

Computer, cell phone, and video game console usage is often overlooked by parents. Often times, parents want to avoid arguments with their children or feel the need to afford their child or teen additional privacy when it comes to Internet usage. Other parents simply fail to recognize the risks involved or are not familiar enough with technology to know what they're looking for even if they did decide to monitor this part of their child's life.

Did you know?

    Predators generally seek juveniles they deem "vulnerable", including those which post sexually provocative images online or are willing to talk about sex. Research shows that at least 1 in 25 juveniles will be sexually solicited online and the predator will attempt to make in-person contact.[source] A more recent study indicates that among juveniles age 10-17, an average of 20% report being sexually solicited online. [source] Children are particularly susceptible due to natural curiosity about things such as sex, and predators exploit this to their advantage.

Be Proactive in Protecting Your Child

It is important to understand that predators use the Internet as a means locate victims. Some estimates suggest that at any given time, there are approximately 750,000 predators online actively seeking child victims for the purpose of some form of solicitation. [source] The fact is, the Internet has given offenders the ability to contact and groom your child without ever being seen, using technology is a medium to gain entry to your home and your child's life.

It is also important to understand that often times a child will hide the fact they have been victimized online for fear of getting in trouble or losing Internet privileges. Some criminals even use more forceful tactics such as threats and blackmail to prevent the child from notifying an adult. These same tactics may be used to pressure the child to meet them in person, where they can be abducted, raped, or worse.

It is typical to dismiss the probability that your child would be victimized in the worst way possible, but consider the following: In 2015, NCMEC received reports of more than 11,800 endangered runaways, and it is estimated that approximately 20% of these runaways became victims of child sex trafficking.[source] This type of criminal element does exist locally, as proven by frequent Task Force arrests of individuals attempting to lure children within Boone and surrounding counties.

    Take Appropriate Precautions

  • Monitor your child's Internet usage
  • Look through their cell phone, tablet, or computer frequently.
  • Be aware of software apps which are dangerous or often used by predators.
  • If you see a software app or something you are unfamiliar with, research it.
  • Know the symptoms of online abuse in children.
  • Consider using online monitoring and filtering software.
  • Keep computers and gaming consoles in common areas of your home.

If Your Child is the Victim of an Online Crime [Image Error]