Detective warns parents to make sure children use internet safely to avoid predators

Local News

JOPLIN, Mo. — Protecting your kids online – that’s the focus for the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Detective Chris Thresher is reaching out to parents.

He’s emphasizing the importance of being involved in how your kids use technology.

“Anything online once you put it out there, it’s for anyone to have really,” said Detective Chris Thresher, SWMO Cyber Crimes.

Detective Chris Thresher says it starts innocently enough, a seemingly innocent contact online.

“They try to, you know friend them talk about their interests, and then it just kind of transition into. Will you do this for me and I’ll give you maybe some gifts or maybe it could turn into blackmailing it can, you know, change it to sextortion all types of things,” said Detective Thresher.

So he says prevention is the key.

“It could even be as small as moving their devices into a common area in the home, so that you can monitor what they’re saying out loud or you can see over their shoulder, whatever the case may be,” said Detective Thresher.

Thresher adds parents can use technology to their advantage, with apps designed to protect kids.

“But if you have the ability to spend 20 $30 on your children to protect them, or at least help protect them, I think it’s worth the investment,” said Detective Thresher.

Thresher points out many of the contacts come through social media, everything from Snapchat to TikTok.

He adds that any kids can be at risk – it starts when they start using technology on their own.

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