Kids become net sex prey ‘in seconds’

Herald Sun (Australia) January 26, 2009

Fran Ralph is bombarded with pop-up conversations from males wanting to know her age, sex and location. The New South Wales detective senior constable is 39 years old but it is her 14-year-old schoolgirl alter-ego that these men are interested in. When Detective Senior Constable Ralph logs on to an under-20s internet “romance” chat site, what follows is horrifying. When told she is 14, men beg her to send pictures, go on webcam and take part in cyber sex. One of seven specialist officers in the child exploitation internet unit, Sen-Constable Ralph has been chasing child sex predators online for two years.

…Sex crimes squad commander Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec said internet filters could be useful but would not put a stop to kids being lured via online chat sites. He said parents needed to educate their children to not give out personal information such as their gender, age and address and parents needed to ensure computers were kept in common areas of the house and never in a child’s bedroom.,21985,24961486-662,00.html