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Educating parents on how predators use social media - KOAM TV 7

Educating parents on how predators use social media to get to kids

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Kids communicate today with technology but many social media sites can be manipulated by those with bad intentions.

When parents come for parent-teacher conferences tonight at Carl Junction Junior High a detective will be there offering tips to keep their children safe in social media.

School counselors say kids are on the front lines of new technology as its biggest users and want parents understand that kids can giveaway too much information.

Detective Ed Bailey is with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.  His presentation shows parents how predators can learn everything from Facebook pictures, open profiles and posts.

Students at the junior high have phones as close as their school supplies. 

Many say they are aware of how to tighten privacy settings on Facebook pages and know they can block people from following Twitter posts.  But Detective Bailey says kids still don't understand the threats that are out there.

"In the old days you used to have a guy in a trench coat at a playground passing out candy, you had to make face-to-face contact with the child victim," says Detective Bailey.  "Nowadays all he has to do is get on the Internet and he can be anyone he wants to be.  At any time he can change.  He can base his personality to be like the child's personality and groom them into a relationship here they think it's ok.

Detective Bailey says students should lock profiles so only friends can see, and even then be careful with how information is provided in the profile.  He also says to be careful with photos since information in the background can tell predators where to find students.  And never post a phone number.

Detective Bailey plays a teenage girl online and says it's easy to catch a predators attention.

In one case five chats online led to a man from Tulsa coming to Carthage where he arrived with a gun and duct tape, Bailey says, to molest and kill a girl.  The Tulsa man was arrested.

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