The Bridge: Summertime social media safety for children

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 8:44 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - During the summer, children are at home and that could mean spending more time on their phones and social media.

This time of the year, there’s more opportunities for children to be online and unsupervised, creating more opportunity to be influenced by someone who is not out for their best interest.

The Bridge says more children throughout the Panhandle are being trafficked through social media.

“Everybody thinks ‘oh it’s not going to happen to my child, it’s not going to happen here,’ but it is,” said Shelly Bohannon, executive director, The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

It’s happening through apps on children’s devices.

“Actually open the apps because some of the apps are false images, so open the app and see what’s in that app, is it really a calculator? What is that? So just really being engaged and talking with your children,” said Bohannon.

Some of the apps to look for are the common ones such as, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.

Some new ones are also popping up causing some concern such as, Discord, Omegle and BeReal.

Bohannon says respecting their child’s privacy is important, but their safety is even more important and urges parents to monitor their children’s activity.

Children can get in trouble with the law if they are found in the wrong situation.

“Anybody under the age of 17, so 16 and under that’s child pornography and if you’re under 14, it’s even worse, it’s a higher offense, so we need people to understand even if it’s your picture, you can’t share it,” said Sgt. Carla Burr, Amarillo Police Department.

If parents are struggling with educating their children, the Bridge and APD want them to know they are here to help.

Also, if parents are aware of any other apps that may be concerning, parents are encouraged to report them.

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