Several arrests in Dale County involve people trying to meet up with underage kids they met on the internet.
One in 25. That’s the number of teens ages 10 to 17 who had a cyber world predator that tried connecting in reality.
Agencies in Dale County arrested several of those offenders.
Sgt. Jason Grantham said, “It is very important we catch them, it is very important that the parents get involved and let us know ‘hey we got a problem.’ Some of these older people are registered sex offenders, they have a prior history. And so it just prevents any children getting harmed, anybody getting kidnapped or hurt.”
Social media is making it easier for predators. The FBI says that nearly 70 percent of minors will accept a friend request from someone they don’t know.
Grantham said, “Sometimes Facebook information has your phone number, your contact information, even where you live.”
And it’s not just the cell phone’s number that can lead a predator to a child.
Grantham said, “A lot of your cell phones now will check you in places when you get there. And especially when you have a juvenile, they are out on their own. They are out with friends. If you have a phone that is auto checking in and they are having conversations with people, it would be real easy to track where that person is at.”
On top of monitoring your child’s social media accounts, there are other ways to see who they are connecting with.
Grantham said, “Check my phone bill, see if there were any unusual numbers that were being texted. Or incoming texts were coming to or from.”
Connecting with what your child could be the only block for the other side of the computer screen.
Several people have been arrest in Dale County and charged with electronic solicitation of a minor. That is a felony that could carry a 2 to 20 year prison term.