NCSBI gets record number of online child exploitation tips

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation said it has received a record number of reports of suspected online child exploitation for a second year despite many students’ return to classrooms and parents’ return to offices.

According to the NCSBI, its Computer Crimes Unit and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force continue to see an increase in the number of CyberTips via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBI received 12,760 tips. That’s an increase from 9,308 in 2020 and 4,930 in 2019. Kevin Roughton, special agent in charge, said the numbers indicate the problem is serious.

The top three sources for last year’s CyberTips came from Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. NCSBI suggests that parents frequently communicate with their kids about who they interact with online and talk to them about what is and what isn’t acceptable online behavior. They also advise parents to warn their children about the dangers of sharing inappropriate photos and video, and to check their phones periodically to see what apps they have and how they’re using them.

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