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Friday, May 24, 2024

DHS Launches “Know2Protect” Campaign to Combat Online Child Exploitation

In response to the growing threat of online child exploitation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a new public awareness campaign titled “Know2Protect.” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the announcement. The campaign aims to educate families about the dangers of online predators and the best practices for safeguarding children.

Describing online child exploitation as an “unimaginable horror,” Secretary Mayorkas emphasized the urgent need for increased awareness and preventative measures. “We just have to raise awareness and teach children, and everyone around them, how to recognize the predators, when they are about to be victimized, how to protect themselves and what to do,” he stated.

The “Know2Protect” initiative collaborates with both public and private sector partners to deliver crucial educational resources to parents and children. Among these partners are tech giants such as Google, Meta, and Snapchat, which will disseminate information about the campaign through their platforms. Additionally, sporting organizations like NASCAR and the NFL, along with the Boy Scouts of America, are contributing to the effort by raising awareness among their networks.

Meta’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis, and Jacqueline Beauchere, the head of global platform safety at Snap, both spoke on “CBS Mornings” about the shared responsibility in protecting children online. Davis highlighted the collaborative effort needed, stating, “We’re not trying to pass the buck to parents, but we all need to work together — whether that’s DHS, whether it’s us, whether it’s parents to help protect kids online.”

The campaign also focuses on the roles of children and parents in maintaining online safety, with Beauchere adding that “young people themselves have a role to play in their own safety. So do their parents.”

In addition to educational outreach, the “Know2Protect” campaign provides practical tools for families, including an internet safety checklist and tips on implementing robust password protections, privacy settings, and disabling location services.

This initiative comes at a crucial time, as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported over 36 million suspected cases of child sexual exploitation in the previous year, marking a 12% increase. The surge in online exploitation cases has prompted the Biden administration and Congress to explore legislative measures aimed at safeguarding children in the digital age.

During a recent Senate hearing, social media company executives faced intense scrutiny over their efforts to protect children online. The hearing highlighted the challenges and the pressing need for effective solutions to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

The launch of “Know2Protect” marks a significant step by the federal government in addressing this pressing issue. As the campaign unfolds, DHS is committed to working closely with its partners and the community to ensure the safety and well-being of children navigating the online world.

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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