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Campaign to prevent child abuse online launches as Louisiana agents see increase in cases | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – There’s a new push to help protect your child while they are online. The Department of Homeland Security launched its Know2Protect campaign on Wednesday. It’s shining a light on the crime of online child sexual exploitation and abuse so that families understand the risks.

“We have more cases than are humanly possible to work,” said Supervisory Special Agent David Ferris.

Ferris works in the cyber crime unit in the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

“We’re seeing a lot more children online. You’re seeing a lot more individuals who have access to the internet 24 hours a day,” explained Ferris.

Ferris said they are seeing multi-fold increases in the number of cases with the increases starting back in 2020. He said in 2021, there were about 4,000 cases. In 2022, the number increased to 6,100. In 2023, it almost doubled to more than 11,000 cases. Agents attribute the increase to social media companies reporting suspected bad behavior as technology constantly changes.

Ferris said don’t cut off the internet completely because that’s not realistic. He explained that you should do research to know about the apps your child is using. He also added that parents should keep phones and the internet out of a child’s room and keep it in an open space where you can control the environment.

“It’s a window to the outside world and so just like your child can see everything that’s going on through that social media app, the world gets to see everything that’s going on with your child,” said Ferris.

Ferris said they are starting to see sextortion cases involving the use of AI (artificial intelligence).

If you believe a child has been the victim of online exploitation or abuse, call the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crime Unit at 225-326-6100.

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