Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pedophiles' Playground

by Susan Murphy-Milano

Computer telecommunications have become one of the most prevalent techniques used by pedophiles to share illegal photographic images of minors and to lure children into illicit sexual relationships.

The Internet has dramatically increased access sex offenders have to the population they seek to victimize.

By using chat rooms, children can chat for hours with unknown individuals, often without the knowledge or approval of their parents. A recent FBI investigation revealed that
computer sex offenders used chat rooms to contact children. Chat rooms offer the advantage of immediate communication around the world and provide the pedophile with an anonymous means of identifying and recruiting children into sexually illicit relationships.

These individuals attempt to
sexually exploit your kids through the use of online services and the Internet. These "candy cane" luring computer wizards are skilled in the art of seduction. They spend large amounts of time, money, and energy on the latest trends, music, and hobbies of children. Their words are often inviting, soothing to the child on the other end of the computer screen.

According to Los Angeles prosecutor
Robin Sax, a predator, over time, knows how to lower a child's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their online conversations. (Ms. Sax's upcoming book, Everything Parents want to know about Predators and Molesters: A Sex Crimes DA Answers Your 100 Most-Asked Questions, will be released in March of 2009.)

The two main tools a
predator uses on their young victims are online chat rooms and personal instant messages.

Once they gain the
trust of the child, a predator will arrange a meeting at a nearby park, fast-food restaurant, or mall.

Two excellent resources for parents are the
sexual predator database and an online Web information and investigation service.

To report child pornography and/or sexual exploitation of children, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children's Cyber Tip-line.

The Cyber Tip-line allows parents and children to file a report by submitting an online form. This form is then reviewed by analysts and forwarded to law enforcement including the FBI, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and state and local police agencies. For additional information on Internet safety, check out the FBI brochure titled "
A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety."


TxMichelle said...

Good information. Thank you. I have a son that is starting to go to chat rooms with his friends. I have warned him several times about giving out information. It is tough when the predator is annonymous.

Anonymous said...

Statistics show pedophiles use the internet. Thousands of people throughout the country were caught in an FBI probe known as Operation Site-Key. Agents found 20,000 online accounts at a company that sold child pornography over the Internet.

Internet Crimes Against Children http://www.icactraining.org/

Susan Murphy Milano's Journal said...

txmichelle-sad reality is we as parents must police our children 24/7. With school starting and kids playing or going on line at a friends home it is important to establish rules and guidlines whenever they are on-line.

TxMichelle said...

I am fortunate because my son's friend's parents are as strict about the computer use as I am.
I have been telling him how people can get information from him without him realizing.
It is a sad state of affairs when this is what it has come to.

Anonymous said...

It is frightening how easy it is for children to be sexually expoited. I found a website that also addresses this issue well. Along with a great blog, there are some resources available to help parents teach children about safety. It is www.drbethrobinson.com

Anonymous said...

It is frightening how easy it is for children to be exploited via the internet. We need to be especially vigilant about what our children do on line, and about teaching them so they will be educated about the dangers when a parent is not present. I read another blog along the same lines. This author also has some resources for parents to use with their children. It is www.drbethrobinson.com