DETROIT — Last year, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) spent a million hours nationally investigating child-exploitation crimes, opening nearly 4,000 cases.
In an effort to dramatically reduce the number of children falling prey to sexual predators online, HSI announced Friday a partnership with Clear Channel to generate awareness about online safety. The partnership comes at the end of the school year as young people will have more free time for social networking and other online activities.
The partnership follows the recent launch of HSI's Project iGuardian, a proactive outreach campaign aimed at educating the public about cyber safety. Project iGuardian is viewed as a vital next step in HSI's ongoing effort to combat online child sexual predation.
As part of the effort, Clear Channel will air on their six Detroit-area stations a 30-second public service announcement (PSA), which features HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller discussing some basic tips on how parents and young people can avoid online predators.
"We want to arm parents and young people with some very basic tips to keep them safe online," said Miller. "Following some of these fundamental practices can mean the difference between falling victim to an online predator and staying safe and avoiding any undue emotional or physical harm."
"Clear Channel is excited to educate its Detroit listeners about cyber safety," said Nick Gnau, market president for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Detroit. "Teaming up with HSI will no doubt help minimize these crimes and teach parents and young people on how to avoid this growing problem in the Detroit community."
The PSA will begin airing June 1 and run through June 30 on all six Clear Channel stations in southeastern Michigan.
Clear Channel locally owns and operates Channel 95.5 (WKQI-FM), FM 98 (WJLB-FM), The D 106.7 (WDTW-FM), Mix 92.3 (WMXD-FM), 100.3 (WNIC-FM), and 1130 AM (WDFN-AM).
As part of Project iGuardian, HSI special agents together with their law enforcement partners, will visit schools and youth groups across the country to provide children and parents with hands-on tips on how to avoid falling victim to online sexual predators. Using superhero-style characters and trading cards developed expressly for the initiative, the law enforcement personnel will remind young computer users to "think before you click." The presentations are age-appropriate, adapted for audiences ranging from grade school students to youths in their early teens.
Organizations and schools interested in requesting a Project iGuardian presentation can do so using a link on ICE's website. At that link, users will also find general cyber safety tips for kids, parents and educators. Those seeking further guidance can use the link on ICE's website to access the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's NetSmartz Workshop, which features more detailed information on numerous topics related to online safety.