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Parents urged to be cautious when allowing kids online

Cropped Photo: Ryan Hyde | Colin Cropped Photo: Ryan Hyde | Colin

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._An Oklahoma task force is urging parents to be cautious when allowing their children to use smart devices this holiday season.

The Oklahoma Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force says more than 800 instances of child sexual exploitation were reported to the OSBI through the Cybertipline. Each of those cases involved the use of computers, apps, chats or social media.

They urge parents to consider the following:

  • Monitor your child’s usage of electronic devices—such as cell phones, tablets, readers, web cams and laptops—as well as their usage of apps, games and social media accounts. It is not a good idea to allow this usage to be private. Instead, children should use these in open areas of the home, such as the living room or kitchen.
  • It is important to remember that although strangers continue to be a threat, oftentimes children and teens are exploited by people they know. A large number of child pornography images are taken by the children themselves and sent to others they know or think they know.
  • Utilize device and software parental controls, as well as safety features available for your children’s devices and apps.

Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about online activity. Children should be able to identify risky behavior and know what to do if something happens.

If you’re the victim of sexual misconduct or see this type of behavior, report it to www.cybertipline.com, the OSBI or local law enforcement.

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