The US Department of Justice yesterday unveiled an innovative national public service announcement (PSA) campaign to educate parents about the potential dangers that their children face online and, for the first time, warns potential online predators that exploiting a child online is a serious federal offense, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
The four new PSAs were developed jointly by the US Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Project Safe Childhood partners INOBTR ("I Know Better"), iKeepSafe and the Hispanic Communications Network.
"One of our highest priorities at the Department of Justice is combating the sexual exploitation of children," said OJJDP Administrator J. Robert Flores. "Our message to parents is -- know where your kids go on the Internet, and to would-be predators we say -- your illegal activity will have lifelong consequences."
iKeepSafe developed one of the PSAs, entitled "Know Where They Go," to highlight the risks children face on the Internet. The PSA, illustrates how, in the digital world, children can travel anywhere, and why it is important that parents monitor what sites their children visit and who they are talking to. Elements of this campaign include television, print, radio and Web advertisements. For more on this PSA, please go to www.KnowWhereTheyGo.org.
INOBTR created a PSA entitled "Exploiting a Minor Is a Major Offense." This cutting-edge campaign is designed to warn potential online predators that exploiting a child online is a serious federal offense. Elements of this campaign include television, movie theaters, print, radio and Web banners. For more on this PSA, please go to www.stopanonlinepredator.org.
The Hispanic Communications Network (HCN) produced two separate series of Spanish-language PSAs for television, radio, print and the Web. The first targets parents, while the second targets potential predators. The potential predator PSA seeks to inform low-level offenders or individuals looking for child pornography images online or attempting communication with minors that law enforcement is actively pursuing them, and that their illegal activity could have lifetime consequences. Like the INOBTR ad, it gives a compelling message to stop and think about the consequences of this serious federal crime. The Spanish-language ads can be found on www.ProtegelosAhora.org for the parent campaign and www.NoTeArruines.org for the potential predator campaign. In addition, HCN produced an English-language short video for online distribution. The video, or Webisode, illustrates the dangers children face online and urges parents to become informed and involved, and to supervise their children's Internet and mobile phone activity.
Launched in May 2006, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices, the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department's Criminal Division, and Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood and the public service announcements, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.