By Aaron Eberle
On Tuesday, October 25, Brent Gomer gave a presentation at the school on social media and cell phones. This was open to the public and started at 5:30 p.m.
Gomer works for the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) for the state of South Dakota. Gomer hopes to help try to protect children by talking about the internet.
Gomer believes that the older generation is fortunate to not have grown up with cell phones or the internet.
Gomer had a slide show presentation that covered many things about computers and the internet. A computer may be involved in any crime. Gomer stated that ICAC conducts proactive online investigations for child pornography. There are also reactive investigations, which could include citizen complaints.
Gomer showed a video of sexting at a school. These things can be wider spread fast.
A child can manufacture and distribute pictures of child pornography rapidly. Gomer is always hopeful that this can be handled within the school. This is a huge problem in the United States.
In 2012, in the state of South Dakota, 230 investigations involved possession, distribution, or manufacturing of child pornography. By 2015, there were 249 cases of this. In 2012, there were 23 investigations involving obscenity directed to minors. In 2015, there were 60 cases of this.
In a 2011 study, there were 17.3 million photos of child pornography. This is a four fold increase from 2007. 83 percent of offenders had images of kids six to 12 years of age. 39 percent of offenders had images of children 13 to 15 years of age.
93 percent of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 go online. 24 percent of teenagers are reported as to being online constantly. 56 percent of teens go online several times per day.
Facebook is still the biggest social network that people are using. Instagram and snapchat are growing very rapidly.
Facebook asks for what Gomer feels is to much information. Not only do they ask for home and cell phone numbers, but home address, school, sporting events, etc.
Facebook does have a requirement that you must be 13 years old before you can start an account. Gomer stated that Facebook does have some sensors to hopefully not let adults see children. Gomer also stated that sometimes children will lie and start an account before they are 13.
Gomer advised people to have their children stay away from file sharing networks as much as possible. Biltorrent and Utorrent are the worst ones for them to be using.
Gomer talked about several different types of apps that could be put on cell phones to help track children. Gomer did not recommend doing this, simply because children are typically smarter about phones than adults are. They usually can find a way around the apps.
Gomer did recommend that people have their children avoid the Kik app on their phone. This is an app that sexual offenders use. Whisper is a very similar app.
If a child does feel the need to file share or upload pictures, Gomer recommended Flicker. It was a safer place for them to do these things.
Omegle is one of the worst sites on the Internet. A predator can manipulate this site very easily.
The Meet Me internet site does a good job of searching the site for child pornography. All companies are required to do so, but Meet Me is one of the best.
Gomer also suggested that people be very careful of what they post online. He gave an example of a comment that was supposed to be funny, but ended up causing the person to lose their job and get death threats.
Gomer stated that if people wanted to learn more safety for their children, they should go to www.missingkids.com.