Virginia Currents: Online Predators – Video Gaming/Social Media
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Virginia Currents: Online Predators – Video Gaming/Social Media

November 7, 2019


♪>>WE’RE TALKING TODAY ABOUT ON-LINE SAFETY, AND WITH THE INCREASE IN EVEN YOUNG CHILDREN PLAYING GAMES LIKE MINE CRAFT AND FORTNIGHT, WHAT ARE SOME I GUESS SAFETY TIPS THAT YOU CAN PROVIDE PARENTS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY’RE NOT BEING PREY FOR PREDATORS. >>RIGHT, WELL, WE GOT THREE PLACES WHERE THEY’RE PLAYING GAMES, ON THE COMPUTER, GAMING SYSTEMS AND MOBILE DEVICES. THE RULE OF THUMB IS TO TRY TO CENTRALIZE THOSE THINGS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE IN THE HOME. SO YOU KNOW, THE CHILD DOESN’T HAVE A COMPUTER IN THEIR ROOM BY THEMSELVES, THAT IT’S IN A COMMUNITY AREA OF THE HOUSE. NOW WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MOBILE DEVICES, IT GETS A LITTLE BIT MORE DIFFICULT, AND WE CAN SORT OF TRACK WHAT THEY’RE DOING ON THE MOBILE DEVICE BY PUTTING ON MONITORING APPS AND THINGS LIKE THAT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY’RE DOING — THEY’RE NOT UP TO ANYTHING THAT THEY SHOULDN’T BE UP.>>Amy: AND A LOT OF TIMES THESE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE PURSUING CHILDREN, TEENAGERS, STILL POSING AS SOMEONE WHO’S ALSO A CHILD.>>YEAH, IT GOES ALL THE WAY BACK INTO CREATING ON-LINE PROFILES THAT ARE NOT THEMSELVES, USING PICTURES. WE CAN GO ON-LINE AND SEARCH FOR PICTURES ANY DAY OF THE WEEK AND FIND PICTURES OF CHILDREN OR TEENAGERS AND USE THEM, AND THEY’RE GOING TO CREATE AN ON-LINE PROFILE THAT IS A LOT CLOSER TO THE AGE OF THE PERSON THEY’RE TALKING TO. ONE OF THE THINGS, ONE OF THE RULES I HAD IN PLACE WAS DON’T CHAT WITH ANYBODY THAT YOU DON’T KNOW IN PERSON.>>Amy: OF COURSE — IS A BIG PART OF WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA HAS BECOME AS WELL, AND SNAPCHAT AND INSTAGRAM, HOW CAN PARENTS KEEP AN EYE ON THAT ACTIVITY?>>I WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, AS A PARENT MYSELF, I ALWAYS PUT IN THE RULE FROM THE GET-GO WITH MOBILE DEVICES THAT I HAVE THE PASS CODE. AT ANY GIVEN TIME I CAN COLLECT THAT DEVICE AND GO THROUGH AND SEE WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON ON THE DEVICE.>>Amy: SHOULD PARENTS MAKE AN EFFORT TO CONNECT WITH THEIR CHILDREN ON SOCIAL MEDIA, TO BE A FRIEND, A FOLLOWER?>>I THINK IT’S A GREAT IDEA. YOU KNOW, MY OLDEST SON IS IN COLLEGE. HE HAS TWITTER AND HE TWEETS A LOT, AND SOMETIMES IF HE TWEETS SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME RAISE AN EYEBROW, I ASK HIM ABOUT IT AND IT STARTS A CONVERSATION. THAT’S ANOTHER WAY TO KIND OF NOT BE INTRUSIVE BUT ALSO MONITOR AND SEE WHAT THEY’RE DOING.>>Amy: WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS THAT A PARENT CAN LOOK OUT FOR THAT THEIR CHILD MAY BE HAVING COMMUNICATION WITH SOMEONE WHO IS NOT WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE?>>I WOULD SAY NUMBER ONE IS BEING SUDDENLY SECRETIVE ABOUT WHAT THEY’RE DOING WITH THEIR MOBILE DEVICE OR ON THE COMPUTER, ON THE GAMING SYSTEM. CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR. SECRET CONVERSATIONS, GOING IN THEIR ROOM, SHUTTING THE DOOR WITH THE MOBILE DEVICE AND SPENDING A LONG TIME IN THERE. MAYBE EVEN TAKING OR POSTING PICTURES THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THEY POSTED BEFORE. MAYBE EVEN INAPPROPRIATE.>>Amy: WITH GAMING, A LOT OF ACCOUNTS ARE INVOLVED. HOW CAN PARENTS GET INVOLVED WITH THAT ASPECT?>>I WOULD BE INVOLVED FROM THE GET-GO. FROM SETTING UP THE EMAIL THAT THE ACCOUNT IS GOING TO BE AFFILIATED WITH TO THE PAYMENT GOING THROUGH THE PARENTS, NOT INDEPENDENT OF THE CHILDREN. AND THEY COULD EVEN LOG IN, ACQUIRE THE PASSWORDS FROM THE CHILDREN AND LOG IN AND SEE ANY CHATTING THAT’S BEEN GOING ON OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.>>Amy: AND WITH THESE TYPES OF GAMES, CHILDREN, TEENAGERS CAN BE PLAYING WITH SOMEONE ANYWHERE, SO THAT REALLY JUST OPENS UP THE WORLD AND THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE PERSON WHO THEY ARE PLAYING WITH ISN’T WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE.>>YEAH, THEY LIKE TO SAY YOUR HOME IS A SECURE PLACE, RIGHT? EVERYBODY LOX THEIR DOOR AT NIGHT, AND YOU WOULDN’T LET A STRANGER INTO YOUR HOME UNCHECKED. WELL, THE INTERNET IS NOTHING BUT A DOORWAY INTO YOUR HOME, AND NOWADAYS WITH THE ADVENT OF, OF COURSE, THE GAMING SYSTEMS THAT ARE ALWAYS ON-LINE AND MOBILE DEVICES THAT ARE ALWAYS ON-LINE, THERE ARE MULTIPLE DOORS TO LET PEOPLE INTO YOUR HOME AND INTO YOUR CHILDREN’S LIVES UNCHECKED IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOME VIGILANCE ABOUT IT. YOU KNOW, JUST TAKING THAT 5 OR 10 MINUTES ONCE A MONTH OR ONCE EVERY FEW WEEKS AND SAYING, OKAY, I NEED TO LOOK AT YOUR MOBILE DEVICE OR CHECK OUT THE HISTORY ON THE COMPUTER. EVENTUALLY IF THAT EXPECTATION IS SET, THE CHILDREN ARE GOING TO KNOW THAT THAT’S WHAT TO EXPECT. SO THAT GOES A LONG WAY TO PREVENTING ANY INAPPROPRIATE ACTIVITY.>>Amy: IF A PARENT SUSPECTS THAT THEIR CHILD IS BEING TARGETED, IS BEING GROOMED, WHAT STEPS SHOULD THEY TAKE?>>SO THE FIRST THING IS TO CONTACT THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. THERE MAY OR MAY NOT BE A VIOLATION OF LAW AT THAT POINT IN TIME. THEY COULD PROBABLY CONTACT THE CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN, AND THERE ARE SOME PARENTAL RESOURCES ON THERE TO KIND OF GET A LEG UP ON BEING PROACTIVE ABOUT WHAT THEY CAN DO TO MONITOR THEIR CHILDREN’S ACTIVITY ON-LINE.>>Amy: THANK YOU.

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