Preventing Internet Crimes Against Children
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), part of the Oregon Department of Justice, is pleased to announce the launch of a new website dedicated to protecting our youth from sexual predators on the internet. The website, (http://www.doj.state.or.us/oricac/index.shtml), provides information and tools for students, parents and educators to help ensure Oregon youth practice "safe surfing" when using the internet and to assist in identifying the signs of victimization.
Sadly, youth victimization on the internet is bordering on an epidemic. A U.S. Department of Justice survey conducted in 2001 determined that 1 in 5 youth received an unwanted sexual solicitation online. Since 2001 it is likely the number of victims is only increasing, as the number of Americans with access to the internet has more than doubled.
The key to preventing victimization is to stop it before it starts. Consequently, it is imperative that we teach our children safe-surfing. The website is a roadmap for safety and a means for children, teens and parents to discuss and learn how to spot warning signs on the information superhighway.
Summer is right around the corner, which means many youth will be spending more unsupervised time at the computer and on the internet then ever before. We have provided attached to this note an electronic icon for the ICAC website and encourage you and your staff to place the icon and a link to the website on your district or school homepage.
As fall approaches, we welcome requests for in-house web-safety training and informational materials. ICAC member agencies throughout the state are ready and willing to visit your school and provide firsthand instruction on safe-surfing.
Wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer.
Hardy Myers, Attorney General
Susan Castillo, Superintendent of Public Instruction