Spokesman Tpr. Paul Blanton said since we can’t see predators that may be after children online, it’s important for parents to talk with their kids about what can happen with strangers on social media.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children report nearly 750,000 registered sex offenders live in the U.S., with more and more of them using the Internet to find their victims.
KSP Detective Josh Lawson said most victims of online sex crimes range between 13 and 15 years of age.
Studies show 82 percent of online sex crimes are committed after a predator uses the victim’s social media to gain information about them. Only 18 percent of young people use chat rooms, but that’s where most Internet sex crimes begin.
Lawson said the key to keeping children safe is through an open line of communication. "You want to know who your children are talking to face to face," he explained. "You wouldn’t let them talk to any stranger on the street, especially about intimate things, [so] why would you let them talk to someone on the Internet about even more intimate things?”
Blanton said parents need to set ground rules with their children.
“Have the computer in a common room. Know your children’s passwords on social networking sites and talk to your children about what they are doing online,” Blanton adds. “If parents won’t, someone else will and that person could be a sexual predator hiding behind a computer.”