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Protecting Your Children Online

AROUND ARKANSAS -- Predators can gain access to children online with a single swipe in the palm of their hand, so parents need to keep a watchful eye and take steps to better protect their kids online.
AROUND ARKANSAS -- Predators can gain access to children online with a single swipe in the palm of their hand, so parents need to keep a watchful eye and take steps to better protect their kids online.

"They just need to be aware, just like you would with your child's schoolwork. They need to be extremely involved... You need to be paying attention what they're doing on it, who they're talking to, what they're talking about."

Protecting children online is an important role for parents, especially since the world wide web is a touch away.

"If they have apps, they need to know passwords to them... This is for their child's safety, not because you're trying to be mean, not because you're a bad parent, not because you're trying to be nosy, it's for their safety," said Deputy Keshia Guyll with the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Guyll knows keeping constant tabs on evolving technology can be a daunting task, and easy access to computers and smart phones forces their full attention.

"If they're going to allow their child to take it to school, then once again it's just part of being involved and double checking and making sure that they're doing what they're supposed to be doing with it rather than what they're not supposed to be doing with it... The parents need to really start trying to educate their kids about the dangers of it as well."

Guyll explains some apps are more suspicious, like Whisper, Kik, Meetme, Meet24, and Skout.

"I don't want them to start putting these certain apps into this category of, it's inappropriate activity, and lose sight of some of the more popular apps, Facebook, Instagram, stuff like that... That type of activity can happen on those apps as well... If you don't like it, make them delete it. You're the parent."

And keeping an open line of communication with your kids can prevent or put a stop to dangerous online interactions.

"If they are going to allow their child to have these things, take responsibility... These parents need to be educating their kids on this."

Some parents we spoke with had tips themselves on how to monitor children's actions online, and the suggestions they shared can help you keep your kids safe.

"We limit the amount of time that they're using the computer and we only let them go on sites that we know are safe, and kind of keep tabs on what they're doing on the computer," said Laura Minick.

"We try to be around when she's online and I ask her the things that she's looking at and what it is and just try to talk to her about it, make sure she isn't going places she shouldn't" said Gina Coambes.

If parents have questions about certain apps or sites, Deputy Guyll said you can contact the Benton County Sheriff's Office and they can help give you more information.



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