Sex Sting Raises Questions About Dangers For Basin Children 12/3/13
CBS 7 News
December 3, 2013
A Midland cyber sex sting operation lands four alleged predators behind bars. According to the Federal Complaint, investigators say the men targeted girls as young as 12 with text and email messages.
So how you can you protect your children?
"They know what your child looks like, they know their name, they know their nickname, and they know what their friends look like,” said ECISD Student Assistant Services Counselor and Parent Amanda Britton. “So they could approach your child and call them by name."
As a school counselor and mom, Amanda educates parents and her own children about the dangers of the use of social media and unsupervised texting.
“It’s really important to know the apps they use, know their passwords,” Britton said. “If they have a pass code lock on their phone, parents need to know that. It’s not about privacy, it’s about safety.”
We caught up with another mom -- watching her daughter on the Music City Mall ice rink -- she agrees safety is key.
"I never let my children on the internet without my supervision, I’m always right there,” said Lisa Friske, who has two children ages 8 and 9, adding that it can still be difficult to manage their use.
Amanda says there are signs that your child could be in danger and it's important to ask questions if they are deleting messages to hide their tracks.
"Looking for mood changes, refusal to eat, not taking care of basic hygiene,” Britton said. “If they’ve got that phone where it never leaves their side and they can’t walk away form it, you know it’s time to have a conversation with them.”
In addition to knowing your child's passwords, applications can monitor keystrokes or deleted history on computers.
Britton says kids should stay away from applications like Vine, Tumblr and SnapChat, which do not have stringent pornographic filters. Mobile text message applications like Kik, WhatsApp and Meowchat also make it difficult or impossible to filter pornographic messages.
Britton recommends logging onto Facebook’s help center to learn more about how to monitor and know what your children are doing online. You can find it at this link: https://www.facebook.com/help/safety