A Deeper Dive into Cyber Safety for Kids in West Virginia

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Technology has become a staple in our world today. And every day kids are getting more and more attached to their phones, tablets, or computers.  7News reporter Shelby Davis took a deeper dive into the cyber world to find out how parents are keeping their kids safe on something as vulnerable as the internet.

On average, children in the United States are getting their first smartphone at 10 years old, making them more prone to internet crimes and cyberbullying. In fact, in 2018, nearly 8 thousand victims of internet crimes were under the age of 20. This has caused states across the nation to enact cyberbullying and sexting laws.

Nick Griffin is a WTRF’s Digital Sales Manager and has two kids. He says his 11-year-old has a Tik Tok, And although he thought everything was fine, a parent told him she was sharing her personal information online.

We had to sit down and explain to her why these things are important. Why you can’t just say things like those on the internet. How this could follow you through your entire life. Even if you say it at 11, how it can affect you in the future.

Nick Griffin-Parent

A similar situation happened to WTRF general sales manager Lauren Hersey. She says, they caught her daughter on an app that was approved by them, using a chat system that was on the back end. So, she did what she thought was only right.

I took their phones and said, “you’re not getting them back until we can come together as parents and find a solution to monitor what they’re doing online. “

Lauren Hersey-Parent

Nick says he’s been taking extra precautions since his daughter got her phone last year to keep her safe. And since they are a blended family, they use apps on their devices to keep everyone aware.  

We have apps that we can go into her phone check things out, make sure she’s not doing anything she’s not supposed to be doing. And just sometimes you have to rely on other parents that can look out for you too.

Nick Griffin-Parent

A lot of the problems with internet safety become more prevalent with middle-school-age kids. Most think what they’re doing is harmless when in reality, they could be taken advantage of.

My children think they’re innocent. But you know, it could eb a 50-year-old man on the other side of the device or the computer, and they don’t know. So, they don’t think that they’re doing anything wrong. Or anything that would disappoint us as parents, but they’re children. They just don’t know.

Lauren Hersey- Parent

Last year, CenturyLinkQuote looked at the internet crime rate, cyberbullying and sexting laws, and malware infection rate. West Virginia lies somewhere in the middle of the safest and least safe states in the US.

They advise you to call your state representative if you believe your state isn’t doing enough when it comes to cyberbullying and sexting.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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