“All of you parents here tonight, understand one thing, you are responsible for your children, said Detective Rich Wistocki with the Naperville Police Department.
It may seem obvious, but with increasing numbers of kids using mobile applications like Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Skype, potential danger is right at their fingertips.
The Naperville Police Department recently hosted a cyber webinar for parents to tune in and learn what they need to do to keep their child safe.
“The first thing parents have to understand is that there is no such thing as privacy for children, that they own that device, they have every right to go into that device any time they want. The parents pay the bill, the child is under 18, they need to know exactly what’s going on in those devices,” said Wistocki.
In some cases that could be cyberbullying, sexting, video sharing and even sextortion, a form of sexual exploitation.
Alison Bell, the Senior Resettlement Manager for World Relief DuPage Aurora says the online and mobile world is the perfect place for predators of human trafficking.
“One in 14 kids has tried to arrange to meet with somebody that they met online, and while that may be someone who’s just trying to make friends, that may be someone who’s posing as a kid and trying to lure someone into a situation for any number of reasons including trafficking,” said Bell.
Wistocki recommends a few things to help cut down on potential danger. Don’t allow kids to charge their devices in their room overnight, learn your child’s passwords and screen codes to check their phones periodically.
And know what to look for and where to look. Often dangerous apps can be disguised to look like harmless tools, and photos can be hidden. Use codes like *.jpg, *.png and *.mov to search for them on their computer.
If you find something that raises a flag don’t handle it yourself.
“If you see something that concerns you, report it, talk to the police, it is not your job to investigate the situation, it is the job of law enforcement to investigate the situation,” said Bell.
Something the police department takes seriously when educating the Naperville community.
“We take great pride at the police department and our education of our kids and our parents, the data shows we have less reports because we are empowering our kids and parents,” said Wistocki.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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