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Law enforcement reminds parents to monitor children’s online activity

Reminder comes as schools move online amid coronavirus pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Between social distancing and schools moving online, children are glued to their screens more than normal these days.

That means parents need to be even more vigilant when it comes to who their children are talking with online.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office released a list of 24 apps that parents should know about.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office released a list of 24 apps that it says parents should know about.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office released a list of 24 apps that it says parents should know about. (Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

But FBI Agent Robert Schwinger, with the Jacksonville Field Office, said it shouldn’t stop there.

“Any apps that have a chat feature, child predators will use that. They will try and contact your children through those chat features," Schwinger said.

Many apps such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook have parental controls that allow parents to turn off chats and restrict certain websites. But Schwinger said monitoring the apps is not enough.

“Have those conversations with your kids, make sure to go through the dangers of online activity. If anyone they don’t know, if they don’t know who it is, they should not talk to them until they go to a parent or adult and say, Is this OK?'' Schwinger said.

Schwinger also said parents’ conversations with their children should vary based on age.

“Your older children certainly have a better understanding of what dangers are out there than your younger children, so I believe that your younger children probably need more oversite than your older children," Schwinger said. “Even your older children, your teenager population, you put photos out there. Those photos are never going to disappear.”

Depending on how much a parent wants to monitor their child’s screen time, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office recommends apps such as Bark, Net Nanny and Securly.

But everyone agrees it starts with a conversation.


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