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Pedophiles Are Out There, and They're Online
Cheyenne Wyoming Tribune-Eagle ^ | 04-20-04 | Dynes, Michelle

Posted on 04/20/2004 6:55:52 AM PDT by Theodore R.

Pedophiles are out there and they're online

By Michelle Dynes rep2@wyomingnews.com Published in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

CHEYENNE - Last year, six computers in the Cheyenne area were confiscated because of child pornography.

"It is actually here in our area," Deputy Raymond Nelson of the Laramie County Sheriff's Department said.

Nelson cited a recent case where a Cheyenne man was convicted Thursday of soliciting sex from a minor he met on the Internet. But that 12-year-old girl was actually an agent for the Division of Criminal Investigation.

Nelson participated in an Internet safety presentation Monday to teach parents how to keep their children safe online.

He said someone can pretend to be any age or any gender online.

"And nobody knows," he added.

Nationwide, the Internet is the No. 1 form of communication for children ages 12 to 17, said David Leingang, professional development manager for i-SAFE America, an Internet safety organization.

He said U.S. Customs has estimated there are 100,000 child pornography Web sites. One in five children under the age of 17 has gotten an unwanted sexual solicitation.

"These are real risks our children are facing today," he said.

Predators use tools such as chat rooms, e-mail and instant messages to communicate with potential victims. Leingang said information about a child's age, location and interests can be found just by looking up a Web user's profile.

Screen names also can give away information. Something like QueenBee can give away a user's gender, or SkaterDude could tell a predator about a victim's interests, said Michelle Ammerman, a local resident and mother who attended the meeting.

Leingang said 87 percent of all Americans could be identified online with the following information: birthday, gender and location.

A predator will often pretend to be someone the same age with similar interests in order to build trust, Leingang said. Online relationships may develop over several months, making a victim feel safer about meeting their online "friend." He also said that it isn't just girls who are the victims of online crimes. Boys are solicited as well.

"If your fingers are on the keyboard it means you are at risk," Leingang said.

He said there are rules for the online world such as not giving out personal information or listing things such as a full name or location on an Internet profile. Information about a child's parents also could be included in an online profile, potentially putting parents at risk.

Kids may think they are technologically savvy enough to avoid the risks, but a predator has spent plenty of time online perfecting the craft, he said. Parents also should keep their eyes open for mysterious phone calls or gifts from new friends, he added.

Ten-year-old Katie Ryel said her dad told her "going into a chat room is like going into the ocean." She said even though there is a sign telling people to beware of sharks, they still go into the water.

"Kids are at risk even if they don't realize it," Ammerman said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: cheyenne; computers; laramieco; pedophilia; pornography; raymondnelson; uscustoms; wy

1 posted on 04/20/2004 6:55:53 AM PDT by Theodore R.
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To: Theodore R.
It's real simple..you would'nt drop your kids off in the worst part of town and then leave them to fend for themselves...so why let them use the computer in their rooms....
Monitor- Monitor- Monitor- your children
2 posted on 04/20/2004 7:41:45 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: joesnuffy
Our 8 y.o. has a computer in his room, but no internet connection. The only internet connection is on our computer in the great room (kitchen/family room combo) so we can keep an eye on it.

Same reason he doesn't have a TV in his room, although according to him, everyone in his class does, along with almost all kids in the nation.
3 posted on 04/20/2004 9:39:33 AM PDT by eyespysomething (The Barbarians are at the Gates. Don't give Kerry the key!)
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To: Theodore R.
"If your fingers are on the keyboard it means you are at risk," Leingang said.

What a crock of Shiite!

One word: Parenting Not even "good" parenting. Far too many parents are totally absentee parents!

Why young kids are interacting with people that they don't know online is beyond me.

And God help the child molester that ever did anything to my boys! God would have to perform a very quick work in me in order to prevent instant justice.

4 posted on 04/20/2004 9:43:51 AM PDT by wingster
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To: eyespysomething
I agree with you. I would never let kids have a TV in their room. Not only is the content harmful -- with perverse value promoted -- but research has for some 30 years indicated that at least for the younger kids watching TV by itself might be harmful for their brain development. And I made it so clear that we never even had arguments over it. I found a good way is to keep the busy with activities.

As for anyone involved in child porn, they should get the maximum sentence allowed.

5 posted on 04/20/2004 9:49:12 AM PDT by Dante3
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To: Theodore R.
I can't imagine allowing children unsupervised internet access.
6 posted on 04/20/2004 10:37:15 AM PDT by Jane St. Jane
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