LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An undercover operation by L.A. law enforcement netted more than 275 Internet child predators in Southern California in May.

As children start their summer vacations, investigators have advice for parents on how to keep them safe.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Something as innocent as gaming devices could put children in vulnerable situations. Members of the L.A. Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, who conducted “Operation Broken Heart,” say the Internet is where predators can most easily access children. Computers, along with smartphones, gaming devices, iPads, tablets and anything else with Internet access, can pose a risk.

Parents should become familiar with their children’s social media presence and what they’re posting online. Photos that would not be shared among the family shouldn’t be shared online with friends or strangers.

Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell says the most important line of defense for children in this world of Internet predators starts at home.

“There are no rules online,” the chief said. “And if the parents aren’t watching what the kids are doing and talking to the kids actively about how dangerous it is online, the kids are going to say, ‘I’m OK. I’ll take care of myself.’ But really, there are predators online who are posing as other people, trying to lure the kid into an environment where they can exploit them.”


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