Parkland Press

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Thursday, September 19, 2013 by MIKE SCHLOSSBERG, D-132ND Special to The Press in Opinion

Schlossberg's bill updates Megan's Law to include Internet

Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law first became effective in 1996.

The law required convicted sexual predators register on a database held by the state.

The database would be publicly available, insuring a community would know when a convicted sexual predator lived in their neighborhood.

This was 1996, when America OnLine, Prodigy and CompuServe were the Internet giants.

There was no Facebook, no Twitter, and if you told someone to Google something, they would look at you like you had three heads.

The Internet has obviously evolved considerably since 1996, and I believe laws protecting our children must evolve with them.

That's why I have authored an update to Megan's Law.

The premise of the bill is simple: If someone has to register as a sexual predator under Megan's Law, they also have to register their email address and any social networking profiles they have.

Pennsylvania State Police will also be given the power to determine a format sexual predators must display on any social networking profile, noting their status as convicted sexual offenders.

Such legislation will force convicted sexual predators to note who they are when using social networking.

The simple truth is the Internet is a place where sexual predators can operate in the dark.

In 82 percent of all online sex crimes against minors, the offender used social networking to gain information about his or her victim.

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before he or she becomes an adult.

It goes without saying a parent must do everything they can to monitor their child's Internet use.

However, as a relatively new parent myself, I have learned the hard way I can't be everywhere, all of the time, for my children.

As a government, it falls to us to keep our children as safe as possible.

That's why I am sponsoring this law.