Judge offers parents tips to keep kids safe with social media - WNEM TV 5

Judge offers parents tips to keep kids safe with social media

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With so many new apps popping up each day, kids sometimes know more about expanding technology than adults do. That's not only dangerous, but it could get them in trouble with the law.

"You wouldn't give your child the car keys to a vehicle without many, many hours of training behind the wheel, and you should treat the Internet the same way: with some regulatory mechanisms," said Williamson County Juvenile Judge Sharon Guffee.

Guffee has teamed up with law enforcement and even a psychological counselor to help parents learn what they need to do to keep their children safe.

"We're seeing younger and younger children have access to the Internet and information that is potentially dangerous, people who are potentially dangerous, predators. Teenagers have very little filter," Guffee said.

Not only could the child become a victim, young people often wind up in trouble with the law for doing something they never even knew was illegal.

"When you start posting a minor's picture on the Internet, or a text message, it can be a crime, a delinquent act. And there are some very serious punishments out there for an adult and some very serious consequences for juveniles," Guffee said.

And with so many 18-year-olds in high school, it can sometimes be difficult for kids to even see that line between being a minor and an adult. Guffee said she doesn't want to scare parents but help them.

"We want to first educate parents about what is available, what their children have access to, that they can recognize it," she said.

Guffee said there are a few tips for parents to keep in mind when it comes to kids and technology.

First, be sure to monitor your children's texts and social media use and get familiar with the apps your kids use.

Also, ask them if they've ever heard of sexting or if any of their friends have ever brought up the subject.

Finally, talk to your kid about the consequences of social media. Remind them everything they send or post is permanent and could even be illegal.

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