Internet Predators Targeting Kids
In Boone County, authorities have charged 14 people with Internet crimes since last October. Rainbow House hosted a meeting Monday night to tell people how to deal with that growing problem.
"My laptop is my life," said Peter Rice, who received his first laptop when he was 13.
He said he spends about four hours a day online, which worries his mother, Christine.
"I know how easy it is for them to get [online], just to put in an innocent search and end up [on] websites they don't belong on," she explained.
Boone County Sheriff's Detective Andy Anderson started busting Internet predators seven years ago. He said parents need to be involved in their children's lives.
"Number one, set some ground rules and adhere to those rules," he said. "Number two, have the computer in a common area. And by common area, I mean an area where the parents are at. If that's a living room, it's a living room, if it's a kitchen, it's a kitchen."
Anderson interviewed 500 Boone County junior high students, and found almost two out of every three talk online. More than half of them chatted with strangers, with about 30% engaging in sex talk. Seven percent of girls and 13% of boys admitted they met an Internet stranger in person.
If your child is victimized online, Anderson said to contact police immediately, save any correspondence from the incident, and don't let your child back online until police investigate.