Downtown Los Angeles header image
Los Angeles Police Department Badge

Official Site of The LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

Tips for Protecting Children from Online Offenders

Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

100 West First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-486-0580

Safety Tips for Parents and Children

Children are being sexually exploited, kidnapped, molested and solicited by individuals using online services. One reason is the anonymous nature of the Internet. Another reason is the large number of people using the Internet. Preferential Child Molesters contact children on the Internet through E-mail messages, electronic bulletin boards (BBS) and public chat rooms.

These predators of children will make telephone contact with victims by having children call them collect so the preferential child molester’s telephone number will not show up on their parent’s telephone bill. Preferential Child Molesters will purchase a prepaid telephone card and give children a toll free access number enabling children to call from anywhere they choose. Preferential Child Molesters will offer children money for their photographs and/or pose as professional photographers to obtain nude, graphic or sexually explicit photographs of children. Preferential Child Molesters commonly attempt to lower the inhibitions of children through deception in an attempt to lead children into sexual conversations or sex acts.

There are a number of ways parents can protect their children from becoming victims of these predators on the Internet. The following are some examples:

  • Choose an online service that offers parental control features.
  • Purchase blocking software and design your own safety system.
  • Monitor children that are online and monitor the time they spend online.
  • Ensure children never reveal identifying information about themselves on the Internet, in a public chat room, on an electronic bulletin board or in their E-mail messages.
  • Ensure children do not give out personal information about themselves such as their age.
  • Consider using a pseudonym or not listing your child’s name.
  • Get to know the services your child uses.
  • Block out objectionable material through your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without parental permission.
  • Ensure children never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or threatening.
  • Encourage children to tell you whenever they encounter such messages.
  • If you or your children receive a message that is harassing, sexual in nature, or threatening, forward a copy to the message to your ISP and ask for their assistance.
  • If you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography while online, report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Teach children that people online may not be who they seem.
  • Teach children online service providers never ask for passwords and they should never give their password out.
  • Teach children to never let anyone pressure them into doing something they feel uncomfortable doing.
  • Teach children to never enter an area on the Internet that charges for services without asking permission from a responsible adult first.
  • Some children have access to the Internet at school. Check with the school authorities to ensure your children are properly supervised and monitored by a responsible adult.
  • Know your children’s friend and their parents.
  • Set reasonable rules for computer use by your children. Discuss the rules with your children and post them near the computer as a reminder.

INTERESTING FACTS