The Personal Safety and Community Awareness (PSCA) team of the Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) recently presented at the Florida Network of Child Advocacy Centers’ 2020 Krimes Against Kids conference. The annual conference, comprised of more than 50 workshops in a three day period, reaches professionals who work in the child welfare system across the country, including law enforcement, child protective service personnel, victim advocates, attorneys, therapists, counselors and social workers. This year's events took place virtually.
PSCA’s presentation, "Encouraging Safe Practices: An Informed Approach to Protecting Children Online," focused on the potential risks and misuse that accompany children’s use of the internet and highlighted the importance of discussing internet safety, encouraging safe practices, and empowering others to implement internet safety techniques into their lives. Prior to COVID-19, it was estimated that 1 in 5 children will be solicited online at some point in their childhood; child advocates around the world have been warning of a potentially drastic turn for the worse throughout the pandemic as children spend more and more time online. In March, the FBI sent out a press release to inform communities on the increased risk of child exploitation due to the coronavirus. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a 93.33 percent increase in global reports of suspected child sexual exploitation to its CyberTipline between January and June 2020 versus the same time period in 2019.