News and Press Releases

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE UNVEILS NEW PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
TO COMBAT ONLINE EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN
Campaign Educates Parents, Targets Potential Online Predators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2008

SEATTLE – The Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan today unveiled an innovative national public service announcement (PSA) campaign to educate parents about the potential dangers that their children face online and, for the first time, warns potential online predators that exploiting a child online is a serious federal offense.

The four new PSAs were developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Project Safe Childhood partners INOBTR (“I Know Better”), iKeepSafe and the Hispanic Communications Network.

“One of our highest priorities at the Department of Justice is combating the sexual exploitation of children," said OJJDP Administrator J. Robert Flores. “Our message to parents is--know where your kids go on the Internet, and to would-be predators we say--your illegal activity will have lifelong consequences.”

“Our children are using computers, online resources, and internet linked video games at an ever earlier age,” said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “But their technical skill may far exceed their knowledge and judgment of the dangers that lurk online. We hope this campaign will remind parents to monitor who is communicating with their kids online.”

The new campaign was announced in conjunction with the Washington Attorney General’s Internet Safety Task Force meeting.

“We teach our kids not to talk to strangers and look both ways before crossing the street,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “We must also teach them how to be safe in a virtual world. Partnerships such as Project Safe Childhood offer valuable resources to help parents initiate that conversation.”

iKeepSafe developed one of the PSAs, entitled “Know Where They Go,” to highlight the risks children face on the Internet. The PSA illustrates how, in the digital world, children can travel anywhere, and why it is important that parents monitor what sites their children are visiting and who they are talking to when they visit these sites. Elements of this campaign include television, print, radio and Web advertisements. For more on this PSA, please go to www.KnowWhereTheyGo.org.

INOBTR created a PSA entitled “Exploiting a Minor Is a Major Offense.” This cutting-edge campaign is designed to warn potential online predators that exploiting a child online is a serious federal offense. Elements of this campaign include television, movie theaters, print, radio and Web banners. For more on this PSA, please go to www.stopanonlinepredator.org.

The Hispanic Communications Network (HCN) produced two separate series of Spanish-language PSAs for television, radio, print and the Web. The first targets parents, while the second targets potential predators. The potential predator PSA seeks to inform low-level offenders or individuals looking for child pornography images online or attempting communication with minors that law enforcement is actively pursuing them, and that their illegal activity could have lifetime consequences. Like the INOBTR ad, it gives a compelling message to stop and think about the consequences of this serious federal crime. The Spanish-language information can be found on www.ProtegelosAhora.org for the parent campaign and www.NoTeArruines.org for the potential predator campaign. In addition, HCN produced an English-language short video for online distribution. The video, or Webisode, illustrates the dangers children face online and urges parents to become informed and involved, and to supervise their children’s Internet and mobile phone activity.

Launched in May 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

For additional information about today’s media event, please contact Emily Langlie Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office at (206) 464-6432.

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