FBI: Reports of child sex crimes increasing through use of social media

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) The FBI reports child predators are targeting children online now, more than ever. Predators target children by meeting them online. Sometimes predators will pose as someone who is closer to the child's age but there are many tactics online predators use to get close to a child.

FBI Special Agent Scott Neville told NewsChannel 7 Reporter Emily Boyer, the days of teaching "stranger danger" are over. With so many of apps, websites and even online video games, it's become a regular thing for children to encounter strangers online.

"It's impossible for a parent to keep up because these social media apps are constantly changing all the time right?" Neville said.

Law enforcement recommends parents have frequent, proactive conversations with their kids about the dangers of being online. It's one of the only ways that are effective to prevent a child from becoming a child victim because once the predator is engaged with the child, it almost is never reported-- even if a sexual assault occurs.

"The child rarely reports to the parent or law enforcement, Hey I've been sending nude photos or I've been having-- I've been sexting with these people and now they're extorting me or this person wants to meet me, is that a good idea?" Agent Neville said.

Agent Neville continued by saying law enforcement typically only learns of child sexual assault incidents because of parents stumble upon what has been happenings. If that never happens, though, the assault will likely go unreported.