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Onslow County Sheriff warns about children being targeted by online predators

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) --- Nearly every kid these days has constant access to technology. But with that technology comes dangers that parents may never see coming.


As school lets out, kids have more free time to spend on their phones, computers, and video games. But local law enforcement is warning about predators who target kids through technology.


Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said kids are being sexually exploited by criminals online.


“Things like sextortion, child pornography, terrible things that are happening on the internet,” said Miller. “People need to be aware. Our citizens need to be aware that this is going on.”


Predators groom children online to exploit them and even recruit them into human trafficking.


Traci Klein, the executive director of True Justice International said, “we think it’s not happening here. Or it’s like the movie taken where the kids are being snatched. But that’s not how it works.”


And it’s not just on the computer. Kids are also vulnerable on video games and their smart phones.


“Children are being targeted,” said Klein “through social media. Whether it’s Facebook or Snapchat or Kik or any of these other apps that they’re using.”


The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office is advising parents to monitor their kids online.


“You’re supervising your kids,” said Miller, “to make sure that they don’t fall into the abyss of victimization online.”


Parents can also set high privacy settings for their kids and use apps to limit their online interactions.


“Use the protective apps on your computers,” said Klein. “That’s the best way you’re going to protect them to keep this from happening.”


You can find resources online to learn more about the dangers kids face on the internet and how to prevent them.


“Get educated and protect your children,” said Klein.


If you have any concern that your child may be a victim of sexploitation, don’t hesitate to talk to them and then reach out to law enforcement.

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