PSA: Kids easily targeted by sexual predators online

Shayla Reaves reports

- Attention parents:  Some crafty criminals are using the internet to prey on our kids, and a new PSA not only shows how they do it, but also how parents can stop them.

The PSA is in the form of a video created as part of a collaboration between the U.S Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The two-minute video shows a teen actor sending an inappropriate video to someone she 'thinks' she knows online.

But the person is really a stranger, who then blackmails the teen into sending more inappropriate content by threatening to share what she already sent if she doesn’t comply.

It’s not easy to watch, but it’s something those behind the initiative say parents need to see.

It’s a reminder that the web can be a dangerous place, and that teens are easy targets, preyed upon time after time.

So, how can parents protect their kids?

The video encourages them to remind their kids that anything “private” shared online can be used against them. They also say parents should warn their kids of cases like the one in the video, and to report anyone who demands sexual images from them.

Over the years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s cyber tip line has received millions of reports about suspected online sexual crimes against children.

FOX 13 learned the average age of the victims is 15 years old, and that most of the cases have involved girls, but  boys are victims too.

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