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How To Keep Kids Safe With Social Media: From A Detective's Viewpoint

By Tim Woda on December 31, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Social media can be a scary thing for parents.  More and more people are joining Facebook and Twitter every day; and many of those people who join these social networks are children and teenagers.  Social media has taken the place of the "playground", in that predators no longer need to physically hang out with children to obtain access to them.  

In Missouri, one school is taking the steps to inform parents about how to keep their kids safe with social media.  Detective Ed Bailey of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force recently attended parent/teacher conferences at Carl Junction High School to talk to parents about the importance of online safety for their children.  Detective Bailey stated that the key is to get kids to understand how much of their personal information needs to be safeguarded at all costs.  And since many kids generally operate in an "it will never happen to me" frame of mind, getting the message across is difficult.

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4 Things You Need to Know About FourSquare and Keeping Your Kids Safe

By Steven Woda on July 17, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Many tweens and teens love FourSquare, a free application available for GPS-enabled smartphones.

Here are 4 vital things you need to know about FourSquare to keep your kids safe when they're using the location-based social networking app.

1. It's not just a game:

On FourSquare, your child earns points for “checking in” at certain locations and earns badges (checkins at 20 different pizza places, for example.) If she frequently checks in at the same place, she could become “mayor” of that location.

But even though it sort of feels like a game, FourSquare is actually a social network where people can

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Kids Safety Alert: Man Arrested for Assaulting 14-Year-Old Girl

By Steven Woda on February 24, 2012 at 4:38 PM

20-year-old Donnell Young of Oakdale, California was arrested this week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he met on Facebook. Kids safety online is a serious topic and needs serious consideration.

The assault occurred in January, but the two had been exchanging comments on the social networking site since December. Young requested nude photos and told the girl that a fictitious friend of his was interested in meeting her and offered to arrange a meeting between the two.

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Warning Signs of Grooming by an Internet Predator

By Tim Woda on November 8, 2010 at 3:14 PM

internet predatorMost people your child meets on the Internet will be harmless, but there’s still danger in making friends online. Child predators use the Internet to meet children and form relationships with them, the end result of which is to molest or abuse them in the future. This process is known as “grooming,” and it’s vital that you recognize grooming while it’s happening, so you can stop it before it goes too far.

Predators groom children by lending a listening ear, making them feel special, treating them “like a grown up,” introducing sexual speech or pornography to make such acts seem more acceptable, encouraging secrets, and introducing them to other adult behaviors like drinking and doing drugs.

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Kids Safety Question: Could Your Kids Be Building An Army of Webkinz?

By Steven Woda on June 4, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Being online doesn't just refer to the computer located in your kitchen.  Kids access the Internet from laptops, mobile phones, gaming consoles and handheld devices.  Are your kids building an army of Webkinz?  Are you worried your teen will have arthritic thumbs from texting too so much? If this sounds familiar, let's talk.

Obviously technology has a ton of benefits to our children but you may be concerned about what they're doing in the world of bits and bytes and what decisions they're making.  If you're not concerned, you are probably at least at least curious.  Most of us don't fully understand some aspects of the technology that our kids are using.  The good news is that you can become more familiar with technology and you can learn about the issues that affect your kids online.  These issues include cyberbullying, revealing too much and predators.

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