Online predators: What parents need to know to keep their kids safe

Online predators: What parents need to know to keep their kids safe

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - For kids, the internet can be fun and educational, but also potentially dangerous.

Geneva Dummer is a mother of two and runs the Meeting Place, a business incubator that also holds meetings and seminars, including a recent event that centered around kids and online predators. What she learned is bound to get any parent’s attention, especially when dealing with online gaming.

"They will come in and pretend their one of the kids talking to your kids, and then they build up a rapport with them, and the next thing you know they’re wanting to know where they live, where they go to school, just normal conversation,” Dummer said. "They don’t always realize how serious it could be to just tell somebody what time they get out of school and where they go to school.”

A recent study done in Europe polled about 4,000 kids aged 8-13 and asked them about their internet usage. More than half said they met strangers online or through social media platforms, and more than a third of them said they speak with those strangers online more than once or twice a week.

So, what can parents do to get a handle on what their kids are doing online? Dummer said it’s all about being proactive.

"There are apps that you can put on your router when you’re at home, things you can put on their phone to limit their screen time and limit what apps their using,” she said. "Get their passwords. Make sure that whatever apps they’ve got, get their passwords for them. If they don’t have a password, ask why.”

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