Many people (including me before I began handling child pornography cases) have an image of who consumes child pornography. They picture a forty something year-old man in his mother’s basement at midnight. There is no question that child pornography is growing at an incredible rate and that the problem is far worse than most thought. Estimates that were made even two or three years ago have turned out to be fatally flawed as significant underestimates. This week’s news reveals that the image of the child pornography consumer is equally flawed. For example, an article in the Ball State University Daily News revealed that two 19-year old college students were arrested on child porn charges. In Houston, Texas, a Junior High teacher was arrested on child porn charges. In a Washington Post article, Federal investigators identified 20 Pentagon employees and contractors who purchased and downloaded online child pornography. Finally, on CNN.com, a former Alabama sex crimes prosecutor was arrested for child porn charges. The reality is, child pornography consumers are among us.
If child pornography is as widespread as these articles seem to indicate, how then do we protect our children from this horrible crime? Obviously this is a very complicated question. Probably the best information available on how to keep our kids safer is published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
This publication provides some very practical tips for parents and guardians to help keep our kids safer and to prevent sexual exploitation of them. Please read this publication and pass it on to your friends and community and church groups. Prevention is the best way to reduce child pornography. If you do read this publication, please leave me a comment on whether you found it to be helpful. Also let me know how your child reacted to any of the discussion points in the publication. The more we know, the better we will be at protecting our kids.
About the author: Patrick Noaker is a nationally recognized attorney with the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates who handles cases involving child sexual abuse, exploitation and pornography.