New PSA warns of digital dangers

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:45 PM CDT
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Parents are being warned that their children are at risk of being sexually exploited as they spend more time online during the pandemic.

Lauren’s Kids is urging parents to audit what devices and apps their children are using.

The FBI warned parents early in the pandemic to pay more attention to what their kids are doing online.

A new report from the National Sexual Abuse hotline suggests more kids are calling.

“A predator will use and online platform like TikTok, Facebook, or Fortnite, these really popular platforms with children and teens to build a relationship, to build trust. And then they exploit that trust and all of a sudden, sudden there are some photos this predator will have of a child,” said Claire VanSusteren with Lauren’s Kids.

And while statistics on how many are being abused or exploited are hard to come by because kids have been cut off from friends and support groups, Laurens Kids is recommending that you do a digital audit of all your kids' devices.

“Making sure that you turn off location targeting services. Making sure that if something has a chat feature, like Fortnite, that you deactivate that, or that you have conversations with your kids about what is, what are safe things to talk about, and what are things that are not safe. We never share personal information. We never share photos,” said VanSusteren.

Statistics provided by Lauren’s Kids show that three out of four victims do not disclose their abuse within the first year, and nearly half wait five years or longer.

And Lauren’s Kids recommends if your child does speak to you, you remain supportive, telling them you believe them and that they did the right thing coming to talk to you.