Protect & Educate
Important safety tips

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About Us

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) was created to help Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children. The Program is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Pennsylvania’s ICAC Task Force has been administered through the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office; Criminal Investigation Division since its inception in 2000.

The ICAC Task Force program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This help encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education.

Internet crimes against children include possession, distribution and manufacturing of child pornography images on a computer/smartphone/tablet and/or using the Internet to entice children for sexual or indecent purposes. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides the Pennsylvania ICAC with Cybertip leads that are filed out on-line by citizens and by Internet Service Providers.

Our Mission:

  • Conduct investigations, forensic analysis and prosecute offenders who sexually exploit children through the use of the internet and/or computers
  • Provide investigative and prosecutorial assistance to police agencies and prosecutors (e.g., forensic analysis of computers seized as evidence).
  • Provide training and equipment to those involved in investigating and prosecuting Internet Crimes against Children cases.
  • Provide community education regarding the prevention of internet crimes against children, including training for parents, teachers and other community members.
  • Foster continual local, statewide and federal collaboration, information sharing, networking and case prosecution relating to Internet Crimes Against Children.

A Message from the District Attorney

As District Attorney and the chief law enforcement officer for Delaware County, the safety of our community is my number one priority. One of our most important tasks at the District Attorney’s Office is to safeguard our children from Internet crime and exploitation.

Today’s youth have been raised with the Internet, using the latest apps on their mobile devices, and communicating with friends on smartphones. While a useful and necessary tool in education, the Internet also exposes children to many potential dangers, from online predators to cyberbullying. The Internet has become the perfect place for offenders seeking children for sex, as it provides privacy, anonymity, and a virtually unlimited pool of unsupervised children and teenagers who may be susceptible to manipulation. The increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened activity by predators present a significant threat to the health and safety of young people and a formidable challenge for law enforcement. In 1999, Delaware County formed an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) which is the central ICAC Unit for the state of Pennsylvania. Operating out of the District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), the Task Force is comprised of the unit supervisor, three detectives, two forensic analysts and two investigative analysts.

Our ICAC Unit is proactive and diligently works with local law enforcement and our partner agencies to apprehend perpetrators and protect potential victims. The ICAC Unit also goes out into the community to provide educational presentations about Internet safety for parents, teachers and children.

We have three messages for families: Educate, Preserve and Report. First, educate yourself and your children about the dangers on the Internet. We encourage parents to sit down and talk to their children and tell them not to provide personal information over the Internet. Parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s accounts including blogs, instant messages and email. If you suspect an incident or if you see inappropriate material, preserve the evidence. Preserve e-mails, photos, and document dates by taking screen shots and saving the information. Finally, report any possible child exploitation to your local police department or to the ICAC Unit at 610-891-4700. Anyone with information about criminal activity related to the possession or dissemination of images of child sexual assault is urged to call the Cyber Tip Line at 800-843-5678. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children hotline is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-THE-LOST.

Cyber Safety Tips

The more you know, the more you and your family can be safe from those who want to hurt you.

Cellphone/Smartphone

  • Do not allow your children to take their phones/tablets/ laptops to bed with them.
  • Monitor cell phone usage and Applications installed.
  • Establish rules for when they are allowed to use their cell phone, what websites they can visit, and what apps they can download.
  • Review cell phone records for any unknown numbers and late night phone calls and texts.
  • Remind your children that anything they send from their phones can be easily forwarded and shared.
  • Teach your child never to reveal cell phone numbers or passwords online.
  • When shopping for a cell phone for your child, research the security settings that are available.

Children as Victims

  • Help prevent child victimization.
  • Many assume that children at risk for victimization are neglected or from dysfunctional homes. However, all children, even those from supportive families, may be at risk of victimization. Encourage your child to come to you immediately if anyone makes him or her feel uncomfortable online or makes overtures to meet in person.
  • Signs an online predator may be connecting with your child:
    • Your child becomes withdrawn and isolated from family and friends.
    • You find inappropriate material on the computer
    • Your child receives mail, money, or gifts from unknown people
    • You see unknown phone numbers when reviewing the phone bill
  • What to do if your child is victimized:
    • Make it clear that the victimization is not his or her fault
    • Save all evidence of victimization, such as e-mails or instant message conversations
    • Contact your local law-enforcement agency
    • Make a report to the CyberTipline® at www.cybertipline.com or 1-800-THE-LOST® and include all information available

Social Media

  • Make sure to let your children know not to post personal information on any social media site (address, phone number, school, sports teams).
  • Do not give your personal information to anyone online! You can be tracked by your cell phone number.
  • Turn off the location services for images on your devices. There is information in every picture that may Geo-locate your exact location of when the image was taken.
  • Don’t post about where you are or where you are going! You can share picture from your vacation after you get home!
  • Do no post explicit or illegal content online (pictures, comments, etc.) Future employers and schools may find this information. Think before you post! You can’t take it back!
  • Know who your children are communicating with. Do not accept friend requests/allow people to follow you online whom you have never met in person.
  • Search for yourself and your children online. Know what information about your child is public.
  • Use the Privacy Settings on all social media sites. Make sure your accounts are PRIVATE.
  • Report any inappropriate behavior.

Computer

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area in the house.
  • Monitor your child’s time spent on the computer.
  • Set ground rules with children.
  • Surf the web with children to show them what is appropriate for them.
  • Be mindful if your computer has a webcam, disable if need be.

Apps

  • Approve applications on cellphones/tablets/computers before allowing your children to download.
  • Show your children what Apps are appropriate for them (depending on age).
  • Me Mindful there are applications out there that have the ability to TURN ANY DEVICE INTO A PHONE!
  • Research Apps and Games on Devices before approving them for your children.

Sexting

  • Before buying your child a cell phone, set rules for its use, including what sort of information and images are appropriate to share via text.
  • Know what safeguards are available on your child’s phone, such as turning off and/or blocking texting and picture features.
  • Talk to your child about the possible social, academic, and legal consequences of sexting. They could face humiliation, lose educational opportunities, and get in trouble with the law.
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  • Encourage your child to not be a bystander or an instigator. If he or she receives a “sext,” discuss why it is important that he or she not forward the image to anyone else.
  • Never take picture you would not show your parents, teachers, coaches, etc.
  • Remind your child that they can talk to you if they receive a nude picture on their cell phone.
  • Advise children to think before hitting “Send.”
  • If anyone pressures a child into doing something that feels uncomfortable, it’s probably not a good idea. Report it.
  • Once you send a picture, you cannot take it back. Assume everyone can now see it.
  • Talk to your child’s school about its policies on cell phones, cyberbullying, and sexting.
  • Report any nude or semi-nude images that your child receives to law enforcement or contact www.cybertipline.com.

Gaming

  • Parental involvement is critical when it comes to helping children game more safely. Take an active interest in the games that your child plays and wants to buy. You can research games’ ratings and content on www.esrb.org. This website is maintained by the Entertainment Software Rating Board which rates thousands of games each year.
  • Know which safety features are available on the gaming equipment that your child uses—a headset may have voice-masking features, for example.
  • Keep gaming consoles in an easy-to-supervise location and be aware of other places where your child may be accessing games.
  • Tell your child never to give out personal information while gaming or agree to meet anyone outside of the game.
  • Teach your child not to respond to anyone who is being rude or bullying while playing the game.
  • Set rules about how long your child may play, what types of games are appropriate, and who else may participate.
  • Have your child check with you before using a credit or debit card online.
  • Check to see if the games your child plays have reporting features or moderators.

File Sharing/Peer to peer

  • Help children file share safely and legally.
  • When using file-sharing programs, it is important to use caution and common sense. Help your child choose from the many legal options when it comes to obtaining copyrighted materials. For safer file sharing.
  • Access materials through legitimate means only.
  • Set monetary limits for legal purchases of music, movies, and software.
  • Install anti-virus software for added protection.
  • Search your home computer to see if there are file-sharing programs such as BitTorrent and FrostWire.
  • Do not download anything unless you are certain it is from a trustworthy source.

Email/IM/Chatrooms

  • Help prevent child victimization.
  • Keep your children safer online by being familiar with the technology and applications that they use to talk with one another.
  • Know who your child is communicating with online.
  • Open a family e-mail account to share with younger children.
  • Work with your child to brainstorm screennames and e-mail addresses that do not contain information about gender, identity, or location, and that avoid being suggestive.
  • Teach your child never to open e-mails from unknown senders and to use settings on IM programs to block messages from people they do not know.
  • Be aware of other ways your child may be going online—with cell phones, laptops, or from friends’ homes or the library.
  • Tell your child not to share passwords with anyone but you to help avoid identity theft and cyberbullying.
  • Familiarize yourself with popular acronyms at sites like www.netlingo.com and www.noslang.com/ .

Email/IM/Chatrooms

  • Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages, and comments.
  • Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages, and take screenshots of comments and images. Also, take note of the date and time when the harassment occurs.
  • Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider. Ask the website administrator or ISP to remove any Web page created to hurt your child.
  • If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM, and chat rooms, instruct your child to “block” bullies or delete your child’s current account and open a new one.
  • If harrassment is via text and phone messages, change the phone number and instruct your child to only share the new number with trustworthy people. Also, check out phone features that may allow the number to be blocked.
  • Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages, and comments.
  • Get your child’s school involved. Learn the school’s policy on cyberbullying and urge administrators to take a stance against all forms of bullying.
  • Make a report to www.cybertipline.com, and if you feel something illegal has occurred, inform law enforcement.

Links and Resources

Netsmartz
www.netsmartz.org

NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline. The program is designed for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement. With resources such as videos, games, activity cards, and presentations, NetSmartz entertains while it educates.

Netsmartz411
www.netsmartz411.org
1-888-NETS411

NetSmartz411 is parents’ and guardians’ premier, online resource for answering questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web.

Search our knowledge base for answers to all of your questions about the online world! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, use the “Ask the Experts” tab to send us a new question.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
www.ncmec.org /
1-800-THE-LOST

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® provides services, resources and technical assistance to child victims of abduction and sexual exploitation, their families and the professionals who serve them. NCMEC provides the most comprehensive resources regarding missing children, child sexual exploitation, child safety and prevention, law enforcement training and victim and family support.

Crimes Against Children Research Center
www.unh.edu/ccrc

The mission of the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) is to combat crimes against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact.

ICAC Task Force
www.icactaskforce.org

The ICAC Task Force was created to help Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children. The Program is funded by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The ICAC Program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies are engaged in proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions.

Internet Acronyms/Terms to Know
Net Lingo: www.netlingo.com
No Slang: www.noslang.com
(Internet & Slang Translator)
Homeland Security iGuardian
www.ice.gov/cyber-crimes/iguardian

HSI is committed to combatting the sexual exploitation of children; as such, investigations of child sexual exploitation are among HSI’s primary investigative priorities. The sexual abuse of children impacts the most vulnerable segment of our society.

HSI recognizes the importance of education and community awareness regarding the dangers of online activity. Project iGuardian aims to counter a disturbing fact: many online child predators are able to find victims online because children are not aware of how dangerous online environments can be.

HSI believes that providing children, teens, parents and teachers with information regarding the dangers of online environments and how to stay safe online can help prevent many instances of this crime. That is why HSI has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s NetSmartz and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces to develop Project iGuardian.

Project Safe Childhood
www.justice.gov/psc

Project Safe Childhood is a Department of Justice initiative launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. The threat of sexual predators soliciting children for physical sexual contact is well-known and serious, and the danger of perpetrators who produce, distribute, and possess child pornography is equally, if not more, dramatic and disturbing. There is often an international dimension to these crimes such as when offenders travel to victimize children outside of the United States or view live video streams (in addition to recorded still and video images) of children being abused in foreign countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pennsylvania ICAC’s mission?

Pennsylvania ICAC provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. Pennsylvania ICAC supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families.

How do I report online crimes against children?

If you have information about online child sexual exploitation, please contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline at 1-(800) 843-5678.

What is a CyberTip?

A CyberTip, short for CyberTipline report, is a report submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC gathers leads and tips regarding suspected online crimes against children and forwards them to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

How do I create a CyberTip?

To create a CyberTip with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), go to www.missingkids.com, and click “MAKE A CYBERTIPLINE REPORT.” Include all pertinent details regarding the situation (e.g., usernames, dates, screenshots, etc.).

What happens after I make a Cybertip?

After contacting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline, the information will be sent to local law enforcement officials to undergo an investigation.

What do I do if my child is being cyber bullied (cruel, embarrassing, and/or impolite comments directed toward your child online)?

In addition to contacting local law enforcement and/or creating a CyberTip report, have your child either block the bully or deactivate their profile from the online account. If the bully is someone from your child’s school, inform school officials about the situation and, if possible, provide screen shots documenting the bully’s online behavior.

What does “ICAC” stand for?

ICAC is an abbreviation for “Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”

When I report an internet crime, is my identity confidential to the public?

Yes. All cyber tips and reports of internet crimes against children are completely classified and will not be released to the public.

What can I do to protect my children online?

Children should be encouraged to develop safe online habits, including: - Not sharing personal information with strangers, or posting this information in a public place. - Not meeting with individuals they first met online without a parent or guardian present. -Speaking with an adult if they receive sexually solicitous messages or sexually oriented material, or anything else that makes your child confused, scared, or uncomfortable

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