“Parents are the first line of defense. It’s not the government, it’s not law enforcement, it’s parents. Parents and guardians have to be aware of what their kids are doing on their phones or online,” Tyler Dunman, Special Crimes Bureau Chief for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, said.Millions of young people are using social media, which often serves as a predator’s playground. The 61 men netted in 2018 were busted for online solicitation of a minor. They thought they were safely talking to a girl, usually under the age of 14, but their “victim” was actually an undercover agent in the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
“I think Montgomery County has one of the best ICAC task forces in the country, frankly. The team and the commitment to the team is pretty stellar. We have multiple agencies. All of our constables have committed resources, Conroe PD, Homeland Security, DPS and our office,” Dunman continued.
Kate Lacy, a parent, says she was very proactive in her household when her kids were growing up.
“There were no computers in your room, there’s no cell phone in the room after dark. There was ‘It’s time to go to bed. Put your phone on the kitchen counter.’ There’s a basket right there and that’s where it belongs,” she explained.
Montgomery County’s ICAC team usually arrests between 60 and 70 people for these crimes each year, so 2018’s numbers are on par. Nowadays, there are plenty of apps to help parents join the fight in either blocking certain usage or getting an alert when there’s questionable communication. Bottom line, Lacy says you should do something.
“There needs to be an awareness of parents and I think parents, you know. You’ve got single parents working two and three jobs. It’s really, very hard, but your first priority is your child and that’s what you’re supposed to be doing,” she said.
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