Online child sex abuse reports surge as kids spend more time on computers amid coronavirus

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John Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, speaks during a press conference on July 29, 2013, in Washington. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

John Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, speaks during a press conference on July 29, 2013, in Washington. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles and across the country have been overwhelmed in recent months by a surge in tips about online child sex abuse, with social media platforms and other service providers flagging explicit content and suspicious interactions at an alarming rate.

With schools closed, youth activities canceled and kids spending more time online under stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, sexual predators have ramped up their efforts to solicit pictures and videos, officials say.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a global clearinghouse that disseminates tips to law enforcement, took in 4.1-million reports of child cyber abuse in April, a fourfold increase over April 2019, said John Shehan, head of the center’s exploited children division.

In March, the center received more than 2-million reports, more than double what it received in March 2019.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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