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Protecting Children Online (2 part video)

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1998
11 pages
Publication Series
This videoconference focuses on the nature and prevalence of child sexual exploitation through the Internet, the methods used by pedophiles to seduce child users of the Internet and to transmit child pornography among themselves, the methods law enforcement can use to counter such crimes, and what parents and other strategic parties can do to prevent child exploitation through the Internet.
The format of the videoconference involves the presentation of a video clip of a police investigation of a computer-related crime against a child, followed by a critique of the investigation by a panel of experts. In addition to the critique of the video clip, panel members discuss their work in the field of online child sexual exploitation and answer questions from callers about various aspects of detecting, investigating, and preventing such crimes. Members of the panel include a prosecutor who has specialized in child abuse cases, a trainer in the field of computer crime investigations, an FBI specialist in the investigation of cases that involve the online seduction of children into illicit sexual relationships, a county law enforcement officer who has specialized in cases of child sexual exploitation, and the director of the Exploited Child Unit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The simulated case presented in the video clip involves a missing child who was seduced into meeting a pedophile she met in an Internet chat room. The case begins with the parents' report that the child is missing, and the investigation traces how police determined the Internet contact between the offender and victim and then traced the identity of the offender and the location of the place to which he had lured the missing girl. The panel's critique of the simulated investigation focuses on the legal parameters for obtaining evidence in crimes that involve online contact between offenders and victims. Also discussed are the training requirements for law enforcement investigators in computer-related crimes. Other topics addressed in panel discussions of the video clip and in answers to questions from callers include how offenders identify and seduce potential victims on the Internet; how pedophiles exchange child pornography through the Internet; what constitutes a crime in online textual exchanges between sexual predators and potential victims; and how various resources can be used to prevent, detect, and solve online sexual exploitation of children. The video concludes with a listing of relevant resources provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Date Published: April 1, 1998