How the ICAC is protecting our youth

The ICAC are working to protect our youth.
The ICAC are working to protect our youth.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 3:09 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - As the world becomes increasingly online, the ICAC, or Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, is leading the charge to crack down on cyber-crime. The primary goal of the taskforce is to investigate all crimes that involve children and technology.

The taskforce investigates crimes that includes “possession of child pornography, solicitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and other related sexual offense that go along with those categories,” said Toby Russell, Commander of the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.

According to the Pennington County Sheriff 2021 annual report, ICAC saw cyber-tips reported from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children jump from 500 to 700. This can be attributed to the pandemic which gave children greater access to a wide range of technology.

“It had to do with children being at home and being on the internet more regularly or more hours out of the day being spend online and made them more accessible to online offenders,” said Russell.

Parents should familiarize themselves with the different platforms and technology that their children are using. Young technology users should look out for individuals who try to communicate with them online that they have never met in person before.

“Whatever device or application that your kids use the parents need to use as well, their not going to learn every application that’s out there but whatever your kids are using you should also be using just to know how it works,” said Brian Freeouf, a member of the ICAC Taskforce.

“Generally referred to as grooming where online offenders will take advantage of juvenile’s insecurities and vulnerabilities and will use that to exploit them,” said Russell.

All tips for suspicious internet behavior can be reported to the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce through the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

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