D.C.I director John Quinn, Attorney General Tom-Miller (L-R)

D.C.I director John Quinn, Attorney General Tom Miller (L-R)

The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation today unveiled a new website designed to protect children from on-line predators.

Mike Ferjak, with the D.C.I.’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, says the site will help parents, teachers and others talk to kids about the dangers communicating with strangers on-line.

“We now have a page where they can go and get some ideas,” Ferjak said at a press conference in Ankeny. “They have the resources on the website to flesh out those ideas. Maybe they can make it a part of their family routine, go on the Internet together and establish household rules for the Internet.”

Last year, 25 on-line predators were arrested in Iowa. Ferjak visits schools, businesses and meets with community groups to talk about sexual predators who target children on-line.

“One of the standard reactions that happens…is they all leave there fairly slackjawed when I’m done talking because they did not realize how a predator works, the types of things they might say to entice a child and the type of behaviors they might engage in,” Ferjak said. “The threat then becomes very real to them.”

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says parents should talk to their kids about appropriate Internet activities and cell phone use. Miller says “sexting” can put a child at-risk for predators or they might face serious charges. Sexting is the sending of nude, partially nude or sexually provocative pictures.

“They can get out very easily on the Internet and if it goes to a perpetrator, they can use that coerce the individual. Also, there can be criminal charges and they can end up on sex offender registry,” Miller said.

The new website is www.iaicac.org.