Cyberspace Child Crimes Are On The Rise - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/10/05 - East Texas

Cyberspace Child Crimes Are On The Rise

by Ramonica R. Jones

How hard is it to track down a child predator?  Police say very, especially since many predators now rely on cyperspace to find their victims.

Toronto police sergeant, Paul Gillespie, came all the way from Canada.  He's an expert in teaching people who work with children almost everyday to catch cyberspace criminals.

"They're using ways to transmit things back and forth," Gillespie said.  "Police don't have much luck in getting in the middle of those transactions.  They're taking full advantage of the modern technology and we always seem to be playing catch up."

Social workers and other child care professionals came to the training to better understand the technology used to lure and exploit children.  Many said they learned more than they could've imagined.

CPS investigator, Monshonda Gipson, said, "I was really surprised about a lot of things.  I had my perception of what I thought child pornography was, but I learned a lot about that.  It was kind of hard to look at the pictures but I think that it's something that we need to see.  It's something that we need to be aware of."

Child pornography is such a problem in East Texas, dozens of people who tried to register for the training got turned away.  Luckily, some of the things you can do to protect your kids from child pornography can be done at home.

"Most [children] have an email address that their parents do not even know exists," said Cathy Pavlic of the Angelina Alliance for Children.  "If a child has access to a computer, it needs to be where adults can see what's on that screen and when a child minimizes that screen, that's a big red flag; they need to be aware that something's going on they need to know what it is."

Closely monitoring what children do on the Internet can be one of the best ways to protect them from cyber criminals.  It's one of the easiest ways to make sure their time online, doesn't lead to unwanted danger.

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