Experts say parents are best fight against cyber threats
The suggestion comes after a 24-year-old Sacramento man is behind bars, being accused of directing more than 80 underage victims to produce porn across the world.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Investigators believe 24-year-old Demetrius Davis has at least 80 victims between the ages of 6 to 13 in the U.S., and many more overseas, after posing as an 11-year-old girl named Lizzy online, directing dozens of children to create child pornography online.
“On their siblings, other relatives and other kids that they know and then film it and send that video to our suspect,” Sgt. Rod Grassman, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said.
Jeffrey Lee, author of the book, ‘Online Predators, an Internet Insurgency,’ has more than a decade of experience fighting against online child exploitation. He says the best way to prevent this sort of activity from happening is parental involvement, first and foremost.
“These types of cases are actually quite common, unfortunately,” Lee said. “They’re more common than you would like to think.”
Lee said parents should be teaching their kids that the ‘stranger danger’ policy needs to apply online too and they should be checking their phones regularly as every app and every URL is a potential destination for victimization.
“You’ve got to adapt the stranger danger conversation for the 21st century, plain and simple,” Lee said. “We have to adjust accordingly, we have to stay in front of our kids and we have to make the topic of online predation, online exploitation, online criminality in general, regular topic, the conversation in the house.”
He encourages bringing up this case, which kids may have heard about on the news or from their friends, as a jumping off point to start the conversation. But, Lee says there are warning signs that every parent can be looking out for at anytime.
“Any abrupt changes in behavior, and it’s generally going to be for the negative, spending a lot of time, more time isolated in their room, a little more insolent, grades start to slip,” Lee said.
And he says this is something than can be avoided with parental involvement.
“Nothing is going to take the place of your involvement and your willingness to stay involved and your willingness to talk to your kids about this stuff,” Lee said. “Present to them and show them say, hey, look, if this happens to you, I have a plan.”
Lee added if you do find something on your child’s phone, stay calm, be a good witness, do not converse with the person on the other end, make sure you have the passcode, don’t delete anything and call law enforcement right away.
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Sacramento County man allegedly lured 80 children into making porn