On this edition of Crime Watch we're talking about something every parent should be aware of: the dangers to kids from online predators, and what you can do to keep your family safe.
Crime Stoppers' Lt. Cindy Kilgore says sextortion is when a predator gains the trust of a child and, by threatening, convinces them to send nude photos. It carries a 15 year minimum federal sentence.
A South Bend man, Jason Strell, was sentenced to 16 years last October for sextortion. The victim was 15 years old.
Kilgore says predators are using social media like Kik, Instagram, Facebook and You Tube to target children.
SAFETY TIPS FOR CHILDREN
- Don’t follow or accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know
- Block users you don’t know
- Don’t respond to messages, or open emails or attachments from anyone you don’t know
- Never give out personal information
- Never post revealing photos
- Turn off computer when not in use
- Cover webcam when not in use
SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS
- Think twice about giving your child a smart phone (or any unmonitored internet access)
- Keep computer in a family room instead of child’s bedroom
- Use parental controls/software
- Educate yourself about games, apps and social media sites
- Encourage your child to report anything that makes them uncomfortable
- Set boundaries (don’t expect your kids to know if they’ve done something harmful)