Lee County District Attorney warns parents of social media dangers for children

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - As technology continues to grow, so does the risk to children. So it’s important to talk with young kids or teens about what to be aware of on the internet.

Predators, abductors and drug dealers are all found online, whether they are disguising themselves as someone else or using characters in games to talk to your kids. Children get told at a young age not to talk to strangers online, but 70 percent of kids in the U.S. will accept a friend request from a stranger.

Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventiere started a program called #InAPPropiate to help guide parents.

“It’s got a lot of pointers on there that will help empower parents to feel more comfortable when they are looking for certain warning signs or dangers within their kids’ social media.”

Ventiere says sextortion is when a predator convinces someone to engage in sexual acts or send sexual images. She says the predator will then threaten the kid if you don’t do it.

“We as parents have to talk to our kids about what makes us comfortable. We have to acknowledge the fact that these types of things find their way into our home and into our kids’ lives regardless of how diligent we are.”

Father of four, Andrew Puent, says it’s important to warn kids about the dangers of the internet. But, he says it’s a parent’s job to observe how their kids act and not feel guilty about checking their online history.

“They are not allowed to be in their own room they got to be in the social living room area. We have some parent controls.”

Parent and grandfather Robert Johnson say it’s important to share the dangers of online safety because if you don’t know something, chances are other parents don’t either.

“We make sure what they’re watching and the content of what they’re watching is appropriate for their age.”

Ventiere says if your kids are using an app you are not familiar with, Google it, read the description and age range, read news reports, and find out if there have been any criminal reports related to the app.

“We want them to come to us so that we can work this out together. We do not want them to shut down and think that they’ve done something wrong.”

For more information on #InAPPropriate, click here.

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