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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 8, 2006

Parents: Be vigilant against Web predators

The place we call the Internet is just a digital reflection of the real world. And just as it has become a space for the good for communication and community it also has become an underworld refuge for sexual predators.

This week's arrest of a Department of Homeland Security Department official, charged with an attempt to seduce someone on the Internet whom he thought was a teenage girl, was yet another case involving predators using the Internet to get to children. And it reinforces the need for parents to be diligent about their children's use of the Internet.

Technology has created a new venue for sexual predators. The Internet has become their marketplace. They use the Web to prey on unsuspecting young people through chat rooms, instant messages and revealing personal sites like Myspace.com.

But technology works both ways. Law enforcement officials, too, have used the Internet as a cloak to catch predators, even here in Hawai'i. The Justice Department says that since 2003, Internet crimes against children nationwide have tripled from 564 in 2003 to nearly 1,600 in 2005.

The numbers will get worse unless the real prevention begins at home with good parenting. It's no longer enough to know where your children are at night. Do you know where they are on the Internet?