EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – We’ve been relying on the internet more than ever during the pandemic, and reminders that it’s not always a safe place are crucial.
That’s especially true for children.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, internet crimes against kids have increased by 400% since 2013.
That includes offenses like cyberbullying and exchanging nude photos.
School Resource Officer at Northstar Middle School, Tom Xiong, said although the online world of kids can be overwhelming, there are steps parents can take to make that world as safe as possible.
“With the invention of smartphones and kids being able to access the internet right on their smartphones, I think that’s a good place where kids are targeted and where kids are victimized and they don’t even know it,” Xiong said. “I think what parents could do to help out is maybe get a phone monitoring app.”
He said kids should be on alert as well. Never share personal information like your birthday or location, and remember that nothing online is actually private.
The Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District (CFAUSD) added, never meet anyone from the internet face to face, and don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.
And of course, kids should immediately tell a trusted adult if they see or experience something inappropriate.
The CFAUSD suggested parents learn more at Common Sense Media or at Google – Be Internet Awesome.