...Parents Against Predators Act...

Be a part of this groundbreaking effort to get P.A.P.A. signed into law!

Be a part of the PAPA Campaign Committee;
Be a PAPA Campaign Action Leader!

Contact Suzanne Stanford at:
suzanne@
supportpapa.com
.

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Parents Against Predators Act (aka "PAPA")and National Internet Safety Campaign

 

When your child's innocence is lost, it is lost forever.If your child dies at the hands of a sexual predator, YOUR LIFE as you know it WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

Online crimes cross all socio-economic, cultural, color, and religious boundaries.Online crimes against children are preventable!

Most children have cell phones with cameras, video, and are Internet enabled. The risk to their safety needs more protection NOW than ever!

The purpose of the following proposed federal legislation: Parents Against Predators Act (aka "PAPA") is to prevent, as best as possible, convicted sex offenders (felons) from being able to engage with minor children on the Internet for purposes of luring, seducing, and/or engaging in inappropriate and/or illegal activities.

PAPA will help make the Internet a safer environment for our youth.

PAPA would mandate:

  1. All websites providing electronic communication to minor children (chats, social networking, and multi-user gaming) would have their auto-responder cross-reference against the National Sex Offender Registry when an individual attempts to subscribe/login to their service. If listed in this registry, that individual would be prohibited from that site's areas where minor children congregate.
  2. If the potential subscriber/actual subscriber is found be on the National Sex Offender Registry, that individual would receive an automated message that their name is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry and as such will be prohibited from being in those areas within the site that cater to minor children.
    This expands to the Internet existing restrictions that sex offenders are not allowed to be in areas where minor children congregate.
  3. If a Registered Sex Offender wants to subscribe to a website that caters to both minor children and adults, that website must flag that subscribers name with an icon so that minor children/parents/guardians can easily identify that person as a sex offender.
    The person whose name is on the National Sex Offender Registry has a "choice" at this point to either "agree" or "decline" the terms of this User Agreement, as it pertains to the services of this particular website.
  4. The Registered Sex Offender must include his/her legal name in his/her screen name/email address; and is prohibited from using a non-identifying "alias" screen name and/or email address for the purposes of social networking. (For example, rather than im2hot4you@aol.com, it would be johnsmithim2hot4you@aol.com.
    The intent is not to "brand" the individual who is on the National Sex Offender Registry: This provision would apply to "personal" screen names only, not those provided by employers or used in the course of legitimate business practices. Those screen names and email addresses are not required to be registered in the sex offender's public profile, so as to not prejudice potential employers/customers from doing business with them, thus impeding rehabilitation and gainful employment.
  5. Registered Sex Offender's must include their screen name and email address (with their legal name attached) in his/her public profile on the National Sex Offender Registry.
    This is VITAL as it provides the ability to search that screen name/email address to see if the individual who is engaging in social behavior for the purpose of a face-to-face meeting is a registered sex offender.
  6. Registered Sex Offenders are prohibited from lying about their age online.
  7. Registered Sex Offenders must register the I.P. (Internet protocol) addresses of their computers, as well as other identifying addresses belonging to electronic communication devices they use.
  8. Implement a classification system for sex offenders.

The intent of PAPA is twofold: To be a deterrent to registered sex offenders who lure and seduce minor children; and as a means to lengthen the years of incarceration for those whose intent it is to ignore this law and continue to harm children. Each component of this legislation will carry individual penalties. The result being enhanced (prolonged) sentencing.

Enforcement: Sexual predators often re-offend. If/when their computers/email correspondence is examined, whether as a condition of their parole or as a suspect in a crime, law enforcement will see if they have complied with PAPA or not. If not, then they will be charged for each infraction with which they did not comply.

Sex Offender Sentencing: To make an impact, the sentence must be severe. An overview of non-compliance issues with PAPA include: Using an alias without including legal name; not registering screen name and email address(es) used for social networking/multi-user gaming; not registering the I.P. addresses of computer(s) and other internet enabled communication devices; using another computer for social networking purposes; using someone else's screen name/email address either with or without their knowledge; and lying about their age online.

A key concern of parents is that their child, while chatting online or playing a multi-user game with someone whom they don't know on the Internet, is that a pedophile/sex offender may lure and seduce them into a face-to-face meeting. Currently, there is no law in place preventing convicted sex offenders from engaging in electronic communication with minors.

  • According to the United States Attorney General's office, there are approximately 600,000 convicted sex offenders in the National Sex Offender Registry. with 106,000 of them residing in California, according to Gov. Schwarzenegger's Sex Offender Task Force Report.
  • The report states that 10,000 of "the most dangerous" sex offenders are on parole.
  • Approximately 100,000 of them are missing from the sex offender database.
  • The growth rate of convicted sex offenders is 10% per year, according to the Department of Justice (2007).
  • According the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2007)
  • 1 in 7 children have received an unwanted sexual solicitation on the Internet by a stranger.
  • It is estimated that a sexual assault occurs every 2.5 minutes in the United States and more than 200,000 people in the United States each year are victims of sexual assault.
  • 1 of every 6 women and 1 of every 23 men in the United States have been victims of rape or attempted rape, according to the Department of Justice.
  • The Uniform Crime Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation rank rape second only to murder in the hierarchy of violent crimes.

Our children must be protected from these individuals.

The U.S. Customs Service estimates that there are more than 100,000 Web sites offering child pornography - which is illegal worldwide. Revenue estimates for the industry range from about $200 million to more than $1 billion per year. These unlawful sexual images can be purchased as easily as shopping at Amazon.com. "Subscribers" typically use credit cards to pay a monthly fee of between $30 and $50 to download photos and videos, or a one-time fee of a few dollars for single images. (Red Herring Magazine, 1/18/02)

The Internet pornography industry generates $12 billion dollars in annual revenue - larger than the combined annual revenues of ABC, NBC, and CBS (Family Safe Media, January 10, 2006)

As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or neighbors, we must all "step up to the plate" to protect our children from being lured and seduced on the Internet. Although responsible parenting is key to keeping our children safe in this environment, the reality is that we can't always be there looking over our children's shoulders. And while it is vital that our children learn safe and responsible Internet behavior to keep themselves safe, the reality is that pre-teens and teens are engaging in risky online behavior by posting inappropriate and sexually explicit photos of themselves, as well as giving out personal identifying information. They have no idea what danger they are courting. Their youth gives them the false security that "nothing" will ever happen to them. They believe they are safe. If only that were true.

Due to the anonymity component of the Internet, it is easy for sex offenders to hide behind a computer screen - trading "lurking in parks" to "trolling the Internet". Using the Internet is safer for them, given they are not allowed to be in areas where children congregate. This cyber playground provides them the environment to meet children "under cover".

PAPA would remove that cover; provide less opportunity, and would help enforce existing restrictions as it pertains to convicted sex offenders not being where children congregate. Currently, the average time a convicted sex offender stays in prison is 7 years, which includes 3 years off for "good behavior". PAPA would keep the most dangerous sex offenders behind bars for longer periods so that our children are protected from these individuals.

Unfortunately, PAPA won't keep all of these individuals from being where our children socialize or play games online, but at least convicted sex offenders whose names are on the National Sex Offender Registry will be excluded, thus creating a safer online community for our youth.

This IS NOT a political issue. It is a necessary means to help protect minor children from convicted sex offenders whose sole purpose is to lure and seduce them into a face-to-face meeting or to provide them with inappropriate photos/videos of themselves by using email, chats, social networks, and multi-user games.

The online safety of our children must be protected!

I am in the process of launching a National Internet Safety Education Campaign for the purpose of:

  • Establishing Community Action Campaign Committees and Youth Action Campaign Committees to raise national awareness of the dangers of irresponsible and unsafe Internet use.
  • Supporting the PAPA legislation and Internet Safety Education
  • Educate and empower youth and communities on how to be safe online.
  • Implement safe and responsible Internet use community by community.
  • Inspire victims to "speak out" -- giving a "face" to youth about this problem.
  • Send a clear and direct message to predators: Their cyber playground is closed; their community is watching; and if they choose to prey on our children, the penalties will be severe!

Currently, there is an ever-widening divide between youth and parents. Most youth are aware that it's not safe to give out identifying information on the Internet. Unfortunately, they don't believe the warnings and as such, are choosing to do it anyway -- as evidenced by the millions of postings on Myspace.com and other social networking sites. Additionally, many parents don't believe that anything will happen to their child and for those parents who do believe there is an ever-present danger, many are concentrating on their elementary school aged children. They think there is little they can do to prevent their teens from making dangerous choices if they choose to do so - given that computers with online access have become a necessary communication tool. The solution to this problem is EDUCATION and OUTREACH.

Youth needs to take ownership of their own safety and parents need to make Internet safety a priority within their households. (I have explained how to accomplish this in the attached 4 Pronged Strategy For Community Action Campaign Committees.)

In addition to Internet safety education presentations, there needs to be more OUTREACH EVENTS. Community leaders, judges, prosecutors, businesses and schools need to launch "Safe and Responsible Internet Safety Campaigns" for their communities that involve youth as spokespeople. Victims of Internet crimes need to speak out at these outreach events. Both youth and adults need to see that there is a real person whose life has been changed forever. They need to hear the stories and OBSERVE the pain of loved ones who will forever have a hole in their heart. Why so visceral? Because none of these victims ever thought they'd get hurt. But through that hurt, perhaps a kid who would have been a "target" will now "choose" to be safe.

While Dateline's "To Catch A Predator" is effective in seeing how many sexual predators respond to available 13 year olds, it's important to note that these are individuals looking for a quick connection and as such, get right to the point with their target victim by using inappropriate language and photos. This doesn't address those predators who take their time "grooming" their victims into a trust-bridge relationship with them.

U.S. Customs reported in 2004, there were 1.5 million American children illegally trafficked. While there aren't any numbers to indicate how many of these cases were Internet seductions, it can be assumed that a certain amount of them fall into that category.

As technology advances and becomes more affordable, the danger to our youth increases. The tethered wire of desktop computers are going the way of the dinosaur. Wireless laptops, webcams, and computer enabled mobile phones with photo and video capabilities are commonplace. Social mapping ie; "Where are you", is not a fad. It's become a service. For $20 per month you can subscribe to a global positioning systems (GPS) service for tracking kids, teens, and adults. And while the latter was developed for good purposes, there are clearly inherent dangers.

That's why both the PAPA legislation and a supporting education and outreach campaign are needed.

If passed, the PAPA legislation will help keep sex offenders from our youth.

The National Internet Safety Education Campaign will educate and empower youth to make safer and more responsible online choices.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a toll free call at 1-888-477-9650 or on my cell phone at (949) 295-9650.

Thank you for all the work you're doing to keep our nation's children safe.

Sincerely,Suzanne

Suzanne Stanford
President/CEO
My Internet Safety Coach
www.supportpapa.com
suzanne@supportpapa.com
Internet Safety Education Speaker/Trainer/Consultant
(toll free) 1-888-477-9650
(cell) (949) 295-9650