Briefing Room: resources, tips for protecting children from online predators

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Logo courtesy of Seal Beach PD

Hi Seal Beach!

This week you will read about a recent arrest we made of a man who was soliciting a child online for sexual purposes. (For details, see the story on page 9.)

Did you know that the Seal Beach Police Department is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) taskforce?

We want to do whatever we can to stop adults from victimizing children, but we need the community’s help. Often, we only find out about these incidents after they have occurred, or after a child has been solicited by a person online.

The FBI has many really good resources, specific to parents and children, to help keep everyone safe online.

Here are just a few:

The internet, for all of its benefits, also gives criminals and predators an easy way to reach young people. The FBI most often sees crimes against children begin when an adult:

• Forges a relationship with a young victim online and then later arranges to meet and abuse the child; or

• Coerces a child into producing sexually explicit images or videos through manipulation, gifts, or threats—a crime called sextortion

• Sextortion is a crime that involves adults coercing kids and teens into sending explicit images online.

The most important advice for parents is to have open and ongoing conversations about safe and appropriate online behavior. Other advice to consider:

• Educate yourself about the websites, software, games, and apps that your child uses.

• Check their social media and gaming profiles and posts. Have conversations about what is appropriate to say or share.

• Explain to your kids that once images or comments are posted online they can be shared with anyone and never truly disappear.

• Make sure your kids use privacy settings to restrict access to their online profiles.

• Tell your children to be extremely wary when communicating with anyone online who they do not know in real life.

• Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names and to create strong passwords.

• Make it a rule with your kids that they can’t arrange to meet up with someone they met online without your knowledge and supervision.

• Stress to your children that making any kind of threat online—even if they think it’s a joke—is a crime.

• Report any inappropriate contact between an adult and your child to law enforcement immediately. Notify the site they were using, too.

Visit https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/protecting-your-kids for more helpful information. If you have any questions, or are concerned about your child’s online activity, please contact us. We’d be happy to chat with you and your kids. Call our non-emergency number (562) 594-7232. With your help we can prevent more children from becoming victims and keep everyone safe online.

Keep your questions coming Seal Beach! Email us at askacop@sealbeachca.gov today.

Briefing Room: resources, tips for protecting children from online predators