U.S. Attorney Jay Town recognized Tuesday that April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to focus on the safety and well-being of our children.
Town and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Alabama James G. Hernandez reminded parents to be vigilant of their children’s online activity.
“During this time of uncertainty, one thing remains certain is that our office and law enforcement partners remain vigilant in protecting victims of abuse,” Town said. “Our resolve must especially protect our children. Our justice system will not tolerate those who prey on innocent children. Parents are, and remain, the best first line of defense to the practice of digital and cyber hygiene and making certain that online predators cannot access our children.”
“During this time when kids are at home and online, parents need to be more vigilant about monitoring what their children are doing and who they are interacting with because there are many dangerous predators lurking online,” said Hernandez. “Identifying and catching these predators is one of HSI’s top priorities, but we can’t do it alone and need your help to keep children safe.”
Because of the coronavirus global pandemic, all schools have been closed. Children are doing most of their learning online so children have more time on the internet than ever before. This has given predators new opportunities to try to reach children online in hopes of striking up a relationship.
U.S Attorney Town and HIS’s Hernandez offer the following tips to help protect children online: review and approve games and apps before they are downloaded; make sure privacy settings are set to the strictest level possible for online gaming systems and electronic devices; monitor your children’s use of the internet and check profiles and what they post online; keep electronic devices in a common area of the house; explain to your children that images posted online will be permanently on the internet; make sure that children understand online risks, only chat with people they know; block people they don’t know or trust; and trust their instincts if something makes them feel uncomfortable, tell a parent, guardian or other trusted adult about it.
“The success of our Nation is reflected in our economic and cultural prosperity and military might, but our character is revealed by how we cherish and protect the weak, innocent, and vulnerable,” said President Donald J. Trump (R) in a proclamation. “All children are uniquely created in the image of God and gifted with both purpose and unlimited potential. We can and must relentlessly protect our children, homes, and communities from the scourge of these shameful tragedies and support families and communities to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their potential.”
Town is the U.S. Attorney appointed by President Donald Trump to serve north Alabama.