Police educate parents about cyber-bullying, predators

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The Oceanside Police Department held a forum Tuesday for parents to discuss online safety for children.

As kids become more active on the internet and with social media, they can make themselves more vulnerable to sexual predators and cyber-bullies.

typingThe more social media websites that are out there, the more texting applications out there – it increases the audience.  Common sense tells you there’s going to be more victims.  There’s going to be more predators out there,” said Detective Joshua Morris, who gave a presentation at the Civic Center Library.

Morris said parents are often behind-the-curve on technology, compared to their children.

One mother who attended the forum said she’s not on social media and was horrified to find out a family member recently posted pictures of her young daughter online — without her knowledge.

“She clicked on it and it showed a whole page — she kept scrolling and scrolling.  All these pictures of my daughter being exposed worldwide,” said the mother.

Morris said parents need to communicate with their kids and watch out for any questionable behavior.

“Warning signs are just the constant use of the internet – hiding if parents come into the room.  If they minimize that screen all of a sudden or they get nervous and don’t want you seeing what they’re looking at on the internet – huge red flag,” said Morris.

For more information about internet safety, go to www.netsmartz.org.

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