TBI: Tenn. sees sharp increase in child exploitation cases amid COVID-19 quarantine

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is asking parents to stay vigilant in monitoring their child's online activity as the state experienced a sharp increase in child exploitation cases.

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A special agent said investigators have received double the amount of tips in the last month as compared to normal.

With kids spending more time online than usual online during COVID-19 quarantine, special agents with the TBI said the opportunity for them to be exposed to a child predator is increased.

"Online predators are obviously quarantined as well, so they're gonna have more time online with your child," said Special Agent Nick Christian. "Now more than ever, it's important to monitor your child's activity.

There are some things parents should do to keep their kids safe:

1: Read their chat messages
2: Don't allow them to use the internet in their bedroom or the bathroom
3: Use parental controls on their devices

"If you feel like your child is in imminent danger contact your local law enforcement through 911 or any local number," said Christian. "Second, report it by calling 1-800-THE-LOST."

TBI said more than 300,000 tips came in in the last month nationwide, but that Tennessee is being hit particularly hard.

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