WPD talks online safety for teens; resources for parents

Social Media Teens and Twitter
A view of an iPhone in Washington Tuesday, May 21, 2013, showing the Twitter and Facebook apps among others. A new poll finds that teens are sharing more about themselves on social media. They’re also moving increasingly to Twitter to avoid their parents and the "oversharing" that they see on Facebook. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WICHITA, Kansas — In response to the arrests of five Hutchinson teens this week on suspicion of Solicitation to Commit First Degree Murder, KSN wanted to know more about what parents can do to protect their children in cyber space.

KSN News asked Wichita Police about if and how they monitor possible threats of violence, and what parents should do to combat such communication online.

WPD told us that parents have a responsibility to monitor their kids’ activities online, regardless of their activity is from a cell phone, tablet, or computer.

“We’re supposed to teach them [our children] how to be responsible with it. We’re supposed to teach them how to be safe with it,” said Wichita Police Sergeant Jeffery Swanson, Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children, or ICAC.

WPD Sgt. Jeffery Swanson showed KSN News online resources to keep kids safe on the web
WPD Sgt. Jeffery Swanson showed KSN News online resources to keep kids safe on the web

Sgt. Swanson works primarily in the ‘Investigations Division’ for ICAC, and is a father. He sat down with KSN Thursday to discuss some of the resources available to parents to be certain their kids are practicing safe behaviors online.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sponsors a free educational service called NetSmartz. The website offers information for parents and kids about how to use the internet safely.

“Parents can go on there and can find out about cell phones, or file sharing programs, internet safety for children,” said Sgt. Swanson. “They can find out what’s going on, what the latest techniques are, [and] they can find out different things for how to keep their children safe,” he continued.

There are numerous cell phone monitoring software programs available, as well. Many of these, however, charge a fee.

“Every phone call that child makes, the parents get a copy of that phone call. Every text message the child sends, parents get a copy of that text message. Every website the child visits, the parent finds out what website that is and it sends it automatically to the parent’s phone or computer,” Sgt. Swanson explained.

Click here to read more about cell phone monitoring software and specifics on available products. 

Sgt. Swanson does not necessarily endorse the cell phone monitoring software, or any specific brand for that matter, but wanted to provide resources available to parents, if interested.

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