School teaches parents how to protect kids online

(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Do you know how to monitor your child's Facebook through email? Do you have Internet filters set up? Have you spoken to your child about who they talk to online.

Leaders in Perryville School District took that lesson to parents in a special workshop.

"We want to show them it can happen," said School Resource Officer, Deputy Matt Schamburg. "Technology is great but it gives predators more ways to get to your children."

"It's very nerve racking as a parent," said Jeff Steffens, a father. "You can think you are in the safest community but anybody out there can get your information."

"I just don't think you can arm yourself with enough information," said Mother, Jamie Gladdens. "There's so much out there now none of us grew up with."

Deputy Schamburg says a recent case completely unrelated to the school system, but within the Perryville community hit home for a lot of parents. Six juveniles under age fourteen were allegedly contacted by a sexual predator. The

"That makes these projects to educate parents all the more important," said Schamburg. "Monitoring your kids activities and learning the technology no matter how old you are is an absolute must. The statistics are shocking."

In his presentation, Schamburg explains to parents 1 in 3 youth had unwanted sexual exposure to a sexually explicit photograph while online. One in 5 received a sexual solicitation. Also consider, 1 in 7 children have received sexual solicitation within the last year. One in 25 received what they call "aggressive" solicitation. Of those 75% asked the youth to meet in person, 18% came to the youth's home, and 3% even bought a plane or bus ticket for the youth to travel.

Schamburg offers tips on how to stay one step ahead of predators.

"You need to know your kids passwords to all their accounts," said Schamburg. "Realize Facebook accounts are all connected to an email. You can have those connected to your email. Then, whenever your child gets an alert or someone posts on their wall or someone tries to add them as a friend, you get an email too."

He also tells parents not to let kids lock themselves away with their laptops, and also get all necessary filters installed.

"If you understand how to use it, you can keep a lot of things from happening," explained Schamburg.

"I don't think any of us realize how many ways out kids can be contacted," said Lisa Bailey, Assistant Technology Director.

Bailey explains all staff are trained to know safe practices as well, and all the school social media and blog sites are protected to the fullest extent.

"We want to tell parents they can use communication in a positive way. It can be a good thing. You just have to know how to keep lines of communication open and continue to monitor what your kids are doing. You can't be too careful," said Bailey.

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