May is Internet Safety Awareness Month
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson is asking parents and school administrators to help educate children about the dangers posed by online predators. The statistics illustrating the problem are stark. One in seven youths will or has received an unwanted sexual solicitation and one in three will be exposed to sexual material online. Of these, less than 5 % will report the contact or material to an adult.
As another school year draws to a close, the risk that children will spend more time online heightens their vulnerability, particularly if they are unsupervised. United States Attorney Johnson recently sent a letter to school administrators across the state enclosing a list of internet safety tips for parents and children. Electronic copies of the tip sheet are available on the South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s website at http://www.justice.gov/usao/sd/psc.html.
“Protecting children from harm has always been a basic obligation of law enforcement, but children today face online dangers that were virtually unheard of two decades ago,” United States Attorney Johnson said. “That’s why we need to increase our efforts to educate parents and children, as well as enforce federal criminal laws aimed at taking online predators off the streets.”
Recent efforts to raise internet safety awareness among students have been successful. Over the last two years, the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (comprised of federal, tribal, state, and local officers) has educated thousands of high school and middle school students about online dangers. However, younger children also face risk of being victimized by online predators.