Police Investigate Child Exploitation Complaints on Social Networks
The Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies around the state have received numerous complaints over the last few days involving sexually explicit photographs of juveniles being posted on social networking websites, specifically Instagram.
As the lead agency of the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the State Police Computer Crimes Section has been providing technical assistance into these investigations.
These latest images and videos have been posted on several different pages on the Instagram website. At this point, the images do not rise to the level of child pornography under Maryland law, however the Maryland State Police would like to urge the public to be aware of these issues and to report occurrences to Instagram’s Help Center at http://help.instagram.com or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tip Line at http://www.cybertipline.com.
Additionally, the State Police suggests parents talk with their children and explain to them the possible repercussions and dangers of taking photographs of themselves in a sexually explicit manner and posting on the Internet. The following websites are a good resource for parents in steps to take to help protect children from being exploited on the Internet: www.netsmartz.org or www.ncmec.org.
The Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is comprised of 35 law enforcement agencies from around the state focused on preventing and investigating incidents of sexual child exploitation. A major part of the Task Force’s program is community outreach. Investigators travel around the state providing Internet Safety presentations to children, parents, schools, and community or church groups. If you would like to schedule such a presentation for your group or would like further information, you may email the State Police investigative unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.