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When children go online, they have direct and immediate access to friends, family, and complete strangers, which can put unsuspecting children at great risk. Children who meet and communicate with strangers online are easy prey for Internet predators. Predators have easy and anonymous access to children online where they can conceal their identity and roam without limit. Often, we have an image of sexual predators lurking around school playgrounds or hiding behind bushes scoping out their potential victims, but the reality is that today’s sexual predators search for victims while hiding behind a computer screen, taking advantage of the anonymity the Internet offers.
"People who do not believe that their children could ever become victimized online are living in an unrealistic world. Regardless of if your child makes 'As' or not, that child has the potential to become victimized through online technologies. I think it is very important for parents of all socioeconomic status and with all different roles in society to take this problem very seriously."
—Melissa Morrow, Supervisory Special Agent, Child Exploitation Squad, FBI
Research indicates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually victimized before adulthood; sadly, 30-40% of these victims are abused by a family member and 50% are abused by someone outside the family whom they know and trust. Although the majority of this child sexual abuse does not occur online, in the Internet age, offline sex abuse is fueled by pedophiles' unprecedented access to child pornography and exacerbated as perpetrators post pictures online of their exploits.1