How to monitor your kid’s devices and social media to keep them safe

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Karolina Grabowska / MGN

Kids with electronics can be exposed to dangerous situations such as predators and drugs. So, we looked at ways to keep them safe.

Behaviors on social media and smart phones include watching videos, playing games, interacting with friends and even strangers. And that opens the door to potential exploitation.

“A genuinely good person doesn’t look around and think everyone around them is out to steal their children and sell them into sex slavery,” said Claudette Bennett with Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. “Naivety is not a good method of protection.”

Bennett is now holding seminars to teach parents about kids and social media.

“You can’t protect your kids from something if you don’t know what the risk is,” Bennett said.

Bennett said constant communication is key and to be upfront with what you’re doing.

“It’s important to get on their account every now and then and measure what they’re doing, what they’re searching for, look at their history,” Bennett said.

Bennett also recommends becoming knowledgeable about what to search for on your child’s phone to help protect them.

“Parents not only have to look at their actual text messages, but they also have to dig into the apps they’re using,” Bennett said. “Make sure it’s not a hidden app.”

There are ways to do this with all forms of communication on a device.

“They can hide their videos, their phone, their photos, any text messages they do not want their parents to see,” Bennett said. “And it looks just like a music app.”

As a parent, you have to learn to trust but verify.

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