AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) – Just like when we were told not talk to strangers as children, the same can be said online. In the ever-changing online world, it’s possible for kids to come across something or someone that could do them harm. Police say it happens far too often and want parents to be more aware.
Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter are used multiple times every day. Kids are social and are using these apps and sites to share with each other.
“I think there’s so many things out there now,” said local parent, Craig Vaughn. “When I was growing up all we had were encyclopedias. That was about all the technology we had.”
Vaughn has two kids, one of them a teenage girl who he tries to protect from potential online predators.
“Our computer is in the living room. If you wanna use the main computer or lab top, it’s in the living room,” said Vaughn. “So, everybody knows what you’re doing.”
But the hardest thing to monitor are the smart phones.
“The kids have the computer in their pocket. You can’t put it in a room where you can supervise them,” said Sergeant Brent Barbee with the Amarillo Police Department. “So, protecting them from predators and bad influences online has become more difficult.”
Barbee says the first step in protection starts with the parent.
“Sitting down with the children and having some really clear, frank discussion about ground rules,” said Barbee. “Rules like don’t go to websites that other people tell you about, don’t have contacts or conversations with people that you don’t know in real life.”
Teach children to be smart while online — share with caution, that goes for pictures and details about their life.
“So often, very small things can turn into a lot of threat for a kid,” said Barbee.
Barbee also says parents should teach kids to be nice to others online and if your kids have a cell phone, know their apps. Check their privacy settings and make sure their information doesn’t get in the wrong hands. All good advice for parents just like Vaughn.
“You might be saving your kid from big problems in the future,” said Vaughn.
Parents should also check the ratings and reviews of video games kids are playing. If they chat with other players online, make sure the child knows not to give out personal information.
Originally posted on NEWSCHANNEL10: Warning for children surfing the web this summer