Internet Crimes Against Children Unit warns of increase in child exploitation

Cyber Safe

The Internet Crimes Against Children Unit in Colorado Springs is warning parents to keep an eye on what their kids are doing online.

“The sexual exploitation of a child is very prominent in Colorado Springs,” said Sgt. Jason Ledbetter, who leads the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

In 2018, Ledbetter said, they had a reported 2,600 cyber tips sent in. Some of those tips led to investigations and eventually to arrests.

“There are ones trying to find young teens online to have sex with, and that does happen in here,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter said online predators will also ask your kids for pictures or ask them to send sexual text messages. He said the best thing parents should do is keep a close eye on what their kids are doing online.

“It’s important for parents to know that if a child comes to that parent about something they are worried about online, parents shouldn’t overreact,” Ledbetter said. “They shouldn’t cut off all internet access, because then the child won’t report stuff later on.”

ICAC posts photos and background information of people they have charged with child exploitation on their Facebook page.

They want the public to be aware of who is out there online.

“Parents need to know how much screen time their kids are getting and what they are looking at online,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter offered the following tips for keeping kids safe online: 

  • Talk to them about only having online friends be people they know in person.
  • Tell them to not post too much personal information.
  • Tell them not to send any explicit photos.

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