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Q and A with a CyberTipline Analyst

  • How long have you been working with the CyberTipline?

My name is Jenna, and I have been with the CyberTipline since October 2015. Prior to being with the CyberTipline, I worked with NCMEC’s outreach team. NCMEC’s CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. We receive reports from members of the public as well as from companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Dropbox. These types of companies are all required to report any apparent child pornography that they are aware of to the CyberTipline.

  • What types of changes have you seen in the CyberTipline reports for younger children ( >13) recently?

During my time here, I have seen several new trends. Most recently and very concerning, there has been an increase in reports containing younger children who appear to have been enticed to produce child sexual abuse imagery during a live stream.

There are many apps available to kids that serve as a fun outlet to be themselves; however, I do recommend that parents, teens, and younger children learn more about risks that they may face on these platforms prior to use. Apps are not always anonymous and followers are able to capture live videos. There are also offenders who will try to entice children into undressing or playing risky games such as truth or dare. Just know that anything posted online may be saved and shared without your control. Be careful of individuals who try to trick you into doing something in exchange for likes or follows.

  • Have there been any changes in who is reporting to the CyberTipline (ESPs vs. self-report, etc.)?

Companies will report to the CyberTipline when they are made aware of these videos. We also see reports from the public who may have seen the video in question. The public can report the website, name, screen name or other identifying information so we can make the report available to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

  • Do you have any tips for young people to help them avoid online exploitation?

I encourage teens and younger children to talk to their trusted adult if they encounter someone who asks them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable. I also suggest that children learn how to report the user on the site that they are on.

  • Do you have any tips for parents?

To parents, I would encourage you to learn about the different platforms that your children are using. Have ongoing safety talks and share expectations with your child about their online use (this includes video games!). NCMEC’s own NetSmartz and KidSmartz both have excellent tips and talking points for parents. Some apps need an adult email address, so if you share an account with your child, review the child’s history. Younger children should not have access to their live streaming apps behind a room with a closed door. If a child can listen to commenters, they are vulnerable to enticement.

If you suspect a child is being exploited online, report it to the CyberTipline.