Protecting kids from online predators


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FBI and area police work together in a task force called Internet Crimes Against Children to help catch predators trolling online for vulnerable children.

Special police units all over northeast Florida are constantly watching what's happening online.

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office undercover detective who poses as a teen online admits she is surprised at what she sees daily on sites like Facebook, Instagram and many other websites that kids and teens frequent.

While all ages are at risk, the detective say there is one group targeted more often.

"A particular vulnerable age range is 12 to 17," the undercover detective said. "Teens during that time are uncertain about their identities and look often to others for social acceptance and appreciation, and they could be vulnerable and more susceptible to becoming victimized by an online predator."

In April police arrested 12 people lured to an Arlington home by undercover detectives who posed online as teens. The men arrested traveled from around the country to met the teens, only to find officers at the house ready to arrest them.

Detectives tell us the best defense for kids is their parents. They suggest you have an open dialogue with your children about online sites. Get them to talk about what they are doing and who they are talking with.

Detectives say parents need to be parents and enforce rules about online behavior.

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