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40 Force: Protecting Against Predators – Online Safety

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(WGGB) — When it comes to technology and the internet, many parents feel like they’re loosing the battle to keep up with their children.

According to a recent study, half of all children under 10 have used online social networking, and yet, two-thirds of parents admit they’re confused about how to keep their children safe.

The stereotype of the child predator – like technology – has changed.

“A predator could be anybody sitting anywhere. It could be in a public library, it could be in a basement. It could be somebody sitting at work trolling the internet for kids who are putting their private information – either through Twitter, through Instagram, through Facebook, through Snapchat,” explains Jackie Clini, supervisor of digital learning at Springfield Public Schools.

Part of Clini’s job entails teaching internet safety to both adults and kids.

“Kids don’t realize that they’re putting small nuggets of information where people who are online everyday looking for this type of information can begin to piece together maybe what school they’re at for a school event,” Clini adds.

The number one piece of advice Clini has for everyone, and especially children: don’t put your personal information online for everyone to see.

That means: no last name, home address, school name, or telephone number.

Even things you might think are completely harmless can actually be very dangerous – especially for kids.

“Maybe they talk about on Facebook that my mom or dad are not going to be home today. I’m going to hang out today sfter school with my friends at the park…and they start putting these little tiny pieces of information together and people who are professionals at looking for this inforamtion can pick up on it very quickly,” Clini says.

There’s a great website for you and your kids to visit – to learn more about internet safety. It’s netsmartz.org.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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