LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - As students return to class and teachers pile on homework, students will likely go online to find help with their assignments. Unfortunately, child predators are online as well.
According to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp, one out of seven children is sexually solicited via the internet.
“People are targeting children,” said Sharp. “It’s not that we don’t trust the children that are on the computers. They don’t know what websites they are going to and once they get into them, they are led to another site. ”
“There are pedophiles out there that want to talk to our kids. We don't know who they are. They don't know who they are. ”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s office provides assistance for parents. The office purchased 5,000 copies of software called ComputerCOP using seized drug money.
The disk is free to Jackson County residents, but anyone can pay a fee and order it online.
ComputerCOP is software that has the ability to monitor children's activity online.
Sharp explained, “It has the ability to allow parents to see in real-time messages that are sent back and forth to individuals when certain key words are used. ”
“The only thing that's uploaded is the keywords, and that's it,” he said, “Then a 2,000 word dictionary reviews the documents and certain words. ”
Some of those key words can be gang-related, of a sexual content, or involve illegal drug use.
Sharp said any parent who discovers suspicious activity on their child's computer should shut the computer down and contact the local police department.
“Anything that can possibly cause harm to a child… that word will be highlighted in yellow,” said Sharp.
When parents insert the ComputerCOP disk into a child’s computer and click on the icon, the software will begin to scan images, word documents, and other communications used on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Parents are then alerted via email when the software finds suspect words.
“If you’re so certain your children aren’t looking at it, this is just an insurance policy to make sure that they’re not,” said Sharp. “It’s not that you’re spying on your kids, it’s just a tool for you to use. ”
To see which departments, agencies or offices offer ComputerCOP, click here: http://www.computercop.com/map.htm
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
More Education News
The Independence School District welcomed home another class of students from the MindStream Academy in South Carolina, and celebrated their combined weight loss of 1,129 pounds.