(CBS NEWS) – Since the pandemic, children have been abandoned to laptops and phones for schools, clubs and activities. That means more screen time — and online predators have been trying to track them down there.
The nonprofit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children runs an online checkout of child exploitation tips. In a new report published to CBS News, the center said it received 29.3 million reports of child sexual exploitation last year – a 35% increase from 2020 and the highest. best of all time.
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“Predators realize there will be more hours online where teenagers and children will go unsupervised,” said John Shehan, vice president of Exploited Children at the center. are encouraging each other to seize that opportunity. .
Nearly all of the 29 million tips came from phone and social media companies, who are legally required to report potentially illegal images to the national center. Last year, they received more tips about illegal videos than still images.
Alicia Kozak was 13 years old when she was kidnapped by an online predator. Her kidnapping sparked a nationwide manhunt. Kozak was taken from her Pittsburgh home to a basement in Virginia, where she was abused before being rescued by law enforcement officers.
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More than a decade later, Kozak, who promotes internet safety, told CBS News that predators are realizing that children across the US now have broader access to phones and computers at a young age. less.
“If a predator tries to groom a child at the park, at the mall or somewhere, school, things like that, they really have very little chance. While on the internet, they can easily close that chat box and close that app and get to the next possible victim,” she said.
Kozak says parents need to do more than just take away devices.
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“They have to monitor what their children are doing online. They have to pay attention and I know it sounds like you’re invading their privacy, but it’s not. You’re keeping them safe,” said Kozak.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/03/15/more-than-29-million-reports-of-suspected-child-sexual-exploitation-in-2021-nonprofit-center-says/ More than 29 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation by 2021, says nonprofit Center – CBS Pittsburgh