As technology continues to advance, cyber safety needs to grow along with it.
“You are all responsible for your children,” said Cyber Security Consultant Rich Wistocki. “You are not only responsible for their food, clothing, shelter, and education. You’re responsible for their technology as well.”
Retired Naperville Police Detective Rich Wistocki continues to dedicate his career to teaching cyber safety to parents and kids across the country.
“Did you know, the average internet predator has 250 victims in their lifetime. They affect 250 kids,” said Wistocki.
He recently presented a seminar at the Fort Hill Activity Center, where he discussed the importance of parents having a technology talk with their kids.
Be an Active Parent
When it comes to Internet use, Wistocki says there should be no such thing as privacy for children. Parents need to be active and aware of what their child is doing, as kids can easily be taken advantage of online, and in apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly, and Tik Tok.
“And when you’re not checking what kind of videos they make – you think it’s all cute and funny because some videos they make are cute and funny. But some of the videos that people encourage them to make are not so funny. And they get victimized,” he explained.
There are a few things parents can do to prevent these situations.
Check your child’s phone for hidden folders, especially in photo apps. Don’t let your child keep their devices in their rooms at night. And finally, set up a text message code with your child, as a plan for if they need your help to get out of a bad peer pressure situation.
Importance of Education
“I just think that education for parents is so huge because you just don’t know,” said attendee Marion Ruthig. “You don’t know what all the pressures are on kids, what all the technology is. So it’s good to be educated and informed so you can make the best choices for your family.”
“I was just surprised how much this stuff happens,” said Marion’s son Jackson. “Like how he catches like 400 people a year – that’s just crazy. So I’m considering all this stuff that my parents can do to monitor me. I just need to be careful online.”
Teaching Police Too
And while Wistocki continues to educate the public, he’s also busy educating his peers.
“So if I can cast a wider net reaching other law enforcement agencies, and inspiring other police officers to do these types of things – that’s my mission,” added Wistocki. “My mission is to spread the word and train more cops so they can save more kids in their jurisdictions.”
You can learn more tips from Detective Wistocki and the Naperville Police Department on the city’s Internet safety page.
The seminar was part of the Fort Hill Wellness Series. Check the Naperville Park District website for more series events.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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