SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (CBS Local) — The arrest of 25 men for allegedly trying to have sex with children in Florida has prompted a new warning to parents.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said the men, arrested from July 17 to July 20 during #OperationInterceptVI, responded to internet ads, online apps or social media sites to engage in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations with sheriff’s deputies who posed as minors.
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“Unfortunately, the internet allows for easy and anonymous access to children by strangers who are hiding behind a computer screen,” said Sheriff Tom Knight.
Knight updated the Sheriff’s Office list of apps frequently downloaded by children can be utilized by predators for purposes of exploitation.READ MORE: COVID-19 Testing Site Finder
The list, which was at nine as of last May, has now grown to include 15 applications, CBS affiliate WTSP reported.
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The Sheriff’s Office recommends that parents “have those tough conversations with your kids” to ensure they understand the dangers of being online and meeting with strangers.MORE NEWS: Report: South Florida Counties Have High COVID Levels, Despite CDC Numbers
“One day they will thank you,” detectives wrote on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.