The internet – a pedophile’s playground. Its unsupervised depths are grooming grounds for adults that want to prey on children. The International Centre for Exploited and Missing Children provides data on the issue. They find that children aged 8-18 spend on average 7.5 hours per day on the internet. Online victims are most often between the ages of 13-15. They receive correspondence from predators via email, instant messaging apps, online gaming sites, and dating apps. Predators use these platforms to find children that meet their sexual desires, exploit their vulnerabilities through online messaging, and lure them into predatory relationships.
14-year-old Ajahnae Smaugh is a victim of sexual abuse from online messaging. Her predator was 59-year-old Al Chernoff. Chernoff messaged Ajahnae online, promising her an iphone and money in exchange for oral sex. Chernoff drove Ajahnae to his house where he made Ajahnae tie him naked to a bed. To learn more about Ajahnae’s story, click here.
The bottom line: Unmonitored internet use allows predators to target children. Parents should be aware of their children’s internet use. This includes making sure devices are in a central location in which parents can supervise. It also means that children should feel comfortable telling their parents if they receive any suspicious contact online. Finally, parents should check their children’s devices frequently.
Creating a safe environment for children means monitoring what they do online. Let’s charge on in the fight against child sexual exploitation.
Yours in the fight,