We asked a 16-year-old girl, with her parents permission and close adult supervision, to show us what these sites were all about. In a matter of a few hours we saw countless men undressed and several were touching themselves. Many of the men asked the teenager to take her shirt off. We immediately disconnected. None of the men we encountered seemed to matter that the teenager was under age. Sgt. Kron has received dozens of complaints about these sites. "Most involved girls around the age of 11 or 12-years-old who had been on these sites," said Sgt. Kron. "In two cases the males on the other end instructed the girls to disrobe and in both cases they did." Under state and federal law "Enticement of a Child" is a crime. Depending on the nature of communication it could be a 10 to 15 year prison sentence. The challenge is catching these guys. Sgt. Kron says it's nearly impossible. "At the very least we need the precise time that the connection took place," said Sgt. Kron. "Other difficulties are a lot of these sites are hosted out of the country."
There are precautions parents can take to protect their children. First, put the computer where you can see it. Your children are less likely to log on to these sites if you are around. There are also monitoring tools out there that can track what your children are doing on the web. It doesn't have to be a secret. You can tell your child you will be checking. Another option is filtering software. You can block key words or entire websites. It can even be done through your wireless router targeting specific computers and time of day. During our experiment men on the other end of the chat ranged in age from 17 to 53-years-old.
In our case, we closely supervised the situation to protect the teenager from viewing or engaging in inappropriate behavior. Sgt. Kron says, in many cases, parents don't realize the danger that is waiting online. "A lot of children these days have cell phones, Ipods, they have game systems and laptops. They go to their rooms. They're left alone for hours with all that the internet has to offer," said Sgt. Kron. We tried to contact both sites, but there is not a phone number and emails sent bounced back. The fine print says you are required to be 18 or at least 13-years-old with a parents permission. However, experts say the sites are not monitored to make sure the rules are followed.