More sexual predators are using social media to target victims

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Summer break for some children means more free time, and less supervision when playing games online or on social media. When it comes to your child’s activity online police say parents must be vigilant especially against sexual predators. What starts as a general conversation often turns into predators tricking kids into sending explicit photos through apps such as Facebook and Snapchat. Investigators say they also hide behind fake user profiles on games like the Xbox live where you can chat with other gamers. When it comes to safety online David Gaston, Investigator with the Columbia County Sheriff’s office says protecting your child is more important than privacy.

“I Always tell parents know the applications they have and know how they work. It’s important to know exactly who they’re talking to. A lot of kids will just be like oh I have 3,000 friends, when in reality they maybe know 50 of them, so who are all of these other people?” Gatson asks.

If you suspect your child could be sending explicit photos online you’re encouraged to call the police. From there, depending on what information has been exchanged, a person caught trying to lure a child online could face attempting child molestation charges or enticing a child for indecent purposes.

“Usually you don’t know who you’re talking to so it can be a 13-year-old boy or it could be a 35-year-old man that your child is talking to. What happens is they’ll be messaging and talking and it’ll turn into hey what’s your cell phone number?” Gatson told NewsChannel 6.

tip that help reduce your child’s risk of being a victim is by turning off your location filters when using social media apps so that people can’t pinpoint your location when chatting with you online.

 

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