In our second podcast episode, our staff spoke with Detective Heather Huhman with the Wichita Police Department, assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. This is her message to parents during the Covid-19 stay-at-home order, but it's not just wisdom during this season, this is wisdom for families navigating the virtual world at any time.
Parents: Please talk to your kiddos about being online. A lot of them are being forced to navigate their education right now in the virtual world, but this also is a time when we, as parents, need to be vigilant about where they are navigating while online.
Good rules of thumb to help keep them safe:
NO DIGITAL DEVICES IN BEDROOMS!!
NO DIGITAL DEVICES IN BATHROOMS!!
*I work sexual exploitation cases every day and have yet to see a naked kid taking selfies in mom's kitchen or dining room* Common areas are best!
Keep a list of their emails/logins/user/screen names and passwords!!
Review their browser history!!
Talk about what they might encounter and what to do if they encounter questionable material or scenarios!!
*If you don't prepare them, they are left to fumble through it alone which is often times not good! Peer pressure is overwhelming with a long lasting impact. The internet NEVER forgets!!
Talk to them about your expectations and repercussions should they make a misstep.
Kids will make mistakes but let's do our best to have them be minimal mistakes, not ones that keep coming back to haunt them, and not ones they try to keep secret that require more mistakes to try to keep the first covered up.
Each week the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children send Internet Crimes Against Children's detectives a report about how many reports came in for the U.S. regarding online exploitations and encounters. This week, we clearly see that more people are reporting seeing concerning stuff online and that social networks and platforms are seeing an increase in reports of child pornography and exploitation:
3/29/2020 through 4/4/2020:
REPORTS BY PUBLIC: 4,768
REPORTS BY SERVICE PROVIDERS: 941,065
Imagine one of those reports is YOUR child!! Now, imagine that a simple conversation with YOUR child could have stopped that report from ever having occurred!