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Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/ Legal Issues
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How can I Protect My Child?

Understanding Maturity and Vulnerability
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Internet crime is a crime like any other and should be reported to the proper local, state, or federal authorities. If your child has been a victim of pornography, sexual predation, spam, Internet fraud, or harassment, don’t take matters into your own hands. Let the proper agencies handle the situation.

Reporting Child Exploitation and Child Pornography

If, via the Internet or your online service:

  • your child has been sexually solicited by someone who knows that the child is under the age of 18

  • your child has received sexually explicit images from someone who knows the child is under the age of 18
  • your child or anyone in the household has received child pornography

Immediately contact:

  • your local law-enforcement agency

  • CyberTipline at (1-800-843-5678). The CyberTipline is run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which has representatives from the FBI, the U.S. Customs Service (USCS), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at its headquarters.


The FBI cautions that “If one of these scenarios occurs, keep the computer turned off in order to preserve any evidence for future law-enforcement use. Unless directed to do so by the law-enforcement agency, you should not attempt to copy any of the images and/or text found on the computer.”

Reporting Spam and Internet Fraud
Many Internet service providers (ISPs) allow you to report spam. There are also anti-spamming sites that allow you to report unsolicited e-mail, including the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (CAUCE). To report spam that you suspect of fraudulence, contact the U.S. Department of Justice. Other agencies that handle Internet fraud include: The Internet Fraud Complaint Center, the FBI, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Reporting Harassment
If your child is being harassed online, such as with abusive, threatening, or obscene e-mails or with use of his or her identity in inappropriate newsgroups or mailing lists, contact your local law-enforcement agency or FBI office immediately.

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