The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation says sexual predators of children are spending more time on-line. Gerard Meyers is with Iowa’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Meyers says, "Typically, the interaction initiates through an interactive chatroom – sometimes they may target a victim by perusing myspace.com or those types of social networking sites and then try to engage them in a chat environment." Meyers says parents need to stay on top of what their kids are doing on the computer.
Meyers says there’s a "gap" between parental familiarity with technology and kids are posting pictures of themselves on social networking sites for their friends to see – without the realization that others may see them as well. Meyers says there are some easy steps parents can take to monitor their kids’ activity on-line.
For example, Meyers says the computer should be placed in a "common area" instead of a private room, so children are more apt to communicate as they would with parents in the room. The Iowa DCI has six full-time employees dedicated to cyber-crimes, with units located in Ankeny, Cedar Rapids, and Council Bluffs.