Protecting Children from Online Predators During the Summer Months
Hours of screen time during the summer months can sometimes turn dangerous online when predators are lurking for prey.
“When you have a six or seven year old who has a phone – anything. They have access to everything,” said Kristin Bryd of Montgomery’s Child Protect.
Kristin Byrd, a forensic interviewer and counselor at Montgomery’s Child Protect, says these days it’s entirely too easy for these opportunists to get your child’s attention.
“Somebody says hello to them and it’s just that easy,” said Byrd.
Montgomery’s Child Protect partners with the department of human resources and local law enforcement agencies to crack down on predators.
“We’ve seen cases with kids who are 8 or 9-years-old where there have been predators online who have asked for videos or whatever the case may be,” said Byrd.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or online gaming, Byrd advises parents to take control.
“There should be parental controls put on phones. There should be checks. You should be checking their messages, their browsing history. I’ll say this, kids are smart. They will delete or move anything. So you really have to stay on top of it,” said Byrd.
It’s also important for parents to pay attention to their child’s behavior.
“I’ve seen children that have become depressed. They’ve become suicidal because one thing children don’t realize is that once you put pictures out on the internet, they are there forever,” said Byrd.
Byrd says it only takes minutes for the person on the other side of the screen to lead a child down dark path.
“It’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and it’s scary,” said Byrd.
If you know or suspect that a child is being abused or a victim of a predator you’re advised to contact your local law enforcement agency.