Law enforcement officials educate parents on how to keep kids safe online

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – With the pandemic continuing to impact communities all over, both parents and children are online more than ever.

Parents are online most likely for work and kids  for school, but what happens when virtual learning is over and parents step away?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, parents should stay involved in their child’s digital world. The department says parents should know the apps being used, use parental controls where possible, and block and report people who make them feel uncomfortable.

Cpl. Sahkera Wooten with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office agrees and says chat rooms and video games are breeding grounds for predatory behavior.

“They should go over some safety rules with their kids,” Wooten said.

Wooten says some red flags include someone asking children about where they are or asking for any personal information like a birthday or social security number.

“Never give that information out,” Wooten said.

Wooten says kids should never send pictures or descriptions of themselves to anyone over the internet and never agree to meet up.  

“The kids may think they are talking to someone their own age, but it could be someone just as old as their mom or dad, or it could be someone their age,” she said.

Wooten says kids can be predators too, if they are asking for intimate information. According to the sheriff’s office, there should be an established relationship and an open door policy between parent and child, because usually kids are just looking for attention.

“Because they are not getting that type of relationship from home,” Wooten said.

Officials say if kids don’t feel right talking to someone online, they should tell an adult immediately and that adult should call the police. 

According to Wooten, it’s tough to monitor kids’ online activity with so many different apps out there, but she says parents should try their best to help their child stay safe.