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According to the South Carolina Supreme Court, those facing charges can claim entrapment if the suspect "would not have perpetrated [the crime] except for trickery, persuasion, or fraud of the officer." In 2008, an Upstate man convicted of soliciting a minor appealed the court's decision, arguing that he was entrapped because an undercover agent initiated their first online conversation.
Recently, sting operations conducted by some law enforcement agencies have come under fire for predatory practices.
The group examined more than 800 of these reports received on its Cyber Tipline between October 2013 and June 2015 and found that the average age of children involved is 15.
Typically, offenders begin communicating with the child on a social networking site before moving the conversation to messaging apps.
Researchers also found that more than half of all child-pornography producers arrested in 2009 also committed physical offenses.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the organization has received a growing number of reports concerning incidents of "sextortion," which are cases in which minors are coerced or blackmailed into providing sexual images.
It really requires that parents be educated about the types of apps that their children are using and who they are communicating with and through what means," says Cindy Mc Elhinney, director of programs with Darkness to Light, a nonprofit that offers guidance on protect ing kids from sexual abuse.Even if you think you're only sending it to one person, that's becoming public and permanent.You can't take it back." During his time investigating cyber crimes, Galluccio says most social media sites are cooperative when it comes to assisting law enforcement."There are days when I walk into the office and say, 'OK, I've never experienced any kind of activity on something like this, so we're going to go down this road today.' That's how quickly things move. Disabling smartphone apps that broadcast users' locations and reporting any questionable communications are just a few recommendations for parents.But in addition to attempting to monitor a child's internet activity, open communication remains the most important methods of keeping kids safe.