Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Among their investigative priorities are cyber-crimes which includes child sexual exploitation. In partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, HSI has developed its Project iGuardian. HSI’s Project iGuardian aims to counter a disturbing fact – many online child predators are able to find victims online because children and their caregivers are not aware of how dangerous online environments can be. It is focused on keeping children and teens safe from online predators through education and awareness.
Due to the current public health measures undertaken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts across the country have shifted children to virtual learning which results in significantly more time spent online. Such increases in screen time and online access can potentially expose children to greater risk of encountering cyber predators who know how to exploit their vulnerabilities.
In order to protect them, the HSI Offices located in Maine wish to offer material to support schools, students and their families/guardians. While HSI and their local law enforcement partners typically provide education to students and educators in person via Project iGuardian, their agency also offers a variety of tools available on its iGuardian webpage. The sole purpose of this educational material is to keep children safe while using the internet.
HSI also maintains a close working relationship with NCMEC in the fight against child exploitation. Its partners at NCMEC have created the NetSmartz educational outreach program which features information and resources tailored specifically to youth age groups and adults.
These resources can be found below.
- Free Digital Resources – Online Safety for Kids & Families, found here.
- Project iGuardian Resources, Found here.
- 18 videos, each less than two minutes in length, Called Digital Dangers. The videos, created by HSI Nashville, can be found, here.
- HSI press release related to virtual presentations can be found, here.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Homeland Security Investigations, Bangor, Maine, Acting Resident Agent in Charge Loren Thresher at 207-262-4411 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.