Thank you for joining me again in this web series where we focus on discovering more about the protection of children from predators in our rapidly evolving technological age.

We continue our discussion today with Patrick Redling, Unit Chief of Child Exploitation Investigations from the ICE-HIS Cybercrimes Center in Washington DC, who shares his vast amounts of experience and expertise in order to spread awareness about child exploitation in the modern age. Thank you to both Patrick and all the officers in the Cybercrimes center for their dedication to protecting children throughout the United States. Again, thanks so much for tuning in.

Have the nature of these crimes changed with time and technology development?
“We have seen many changes to the types of technologies criminals use to carry out crime on the internet. It was not that many years ago that we carried around ‘pagers’ and stopped at a gas station to make a call. Now, most adults and many teenagers carry smart phones with hundreds of different apps designed to communicate.

Keep in mind that with so many kids now having smart phones, we as parents and guardians need to know that adolescents and teenagers are particularly susceptible to what’s known as “sextortion”. It’s a form of sexual blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors from the victim.

Predators often use social media and text messages as sources of the sexual material and then threaten to share it with others….Unfortunately, we have seen a sharp rise in these types of investigations.

Yet, children are still children. They might be tech savvy, but they are not experienced or emotionally mature enough to handle shady characters who are lurking the hallways of the Internet.”