Online Child Sexual Exploitation: Data Shows More than 100% Increase From a Year Ago
By Lisa Elliott, licensed psychologist
With more kids at home and without a lot to do, it’s not surprising most of us have eased up on our screen-time restrictions during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
However, statistics show it’s now more important than ever to be aware of what our children are doing online.
Tragically, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) report a significant increase in online child sexual exploitation.
Specifically, CyberTipline reports a 106% increase of suspected child sexual exploitation in March 2020 (2,027,520 reports) as compared to March 2019 (983,734 reports).
The greater amount of time a child/teen is online, along with the amount of free time now available to them, increases the risk that individuals may attempt to coerce kids into providing sexually explicit images or videos.
Perpetrators attempt to make casual contact in hopes of gaining a child’s trust and developing an online sexual relationship. Often these criminals threaten the child/teen in some manner to maintain compliance.
Unfortunately, children/teens are often so embarrassed that they were naïve and enticed or coerced to engage in these behaviors that it prevents them from coming forward. So it is imperative that they understand this was not their fault, they are not in trouble and by reporting they are actually helping others.
It is critical to keep in mind that reporting suspected sexual exploitation could help minimize or stop further victimization. If you suspect or know someone is a victim of child sexual exploitation you can:
- Contact your local law enforcement agency.
- Contact your local FBI field office.
- File a report with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-843-5678 or online at www.cybertipline.org.
Get to know Lisa Elliott
Lisa Elliott is a licensed psychologist and clinic manager of Cook Children’s Pschology Clinic, located at 3201 Teasley Lane, Ste. 202, Denton, TX 76210. Cook Children’s Psychology provides care focused on children’s behavior, from ages 3 years through 17. The Behavioral Health Center brings all services together in an expanded space that will provide a talented, dedicated team of caregivers, physicians and professionals with the facilities, resources, tools and programs they need to ensure that these most vulnerable children receive the high quality treatment they need and deserve. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call our Intake Department at 682-885-3917.