Detective Chris Shermer spends 40 hours a week trying to protect children and pursue criminals who harm them through the internet.

Shermer says it is an eye-opening experience to realize just how many predators are grazing internet sites such as Facebook and My Space looking for children. Other dangers include cyber-bullying, sexting, and child pornography.

Shermer says he and his fellow officers receive specialized training in capturing computer-based predators. When a parent contacts the police department that their child has had a suspicious contact on-line, Shermer will adopt an on-line identity as a child, and when the suspect suggests some sort of meeting for sexual activity, Shermer and his staff are there to arrest he individual.

Shermer advises parents to closely monitor their child's computer, smartphone and cellphone usage, and watch for signs they may be getting into cyber trouble. He says when a teenager slams their laptop shut when a parent enters their bedroom, its a sure sign something is going on that requires investigation. Shermer says to have open and frank discussions with children about the dangers to be found on the internet, and what to do if they are approached online.

Shermer says there is a new program called 'snap-chat' that enables someone to take a cellphone photo, send it, and the photo will disappear within minutes, making it impossible to use as evidence in a criminal case. He encourages parents to stay on top of the technology their children are using to communicate with heir peers.

Missoula Police detective Chris Shermer

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM