PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – As kids stay at home more, so do the online predators that target them.
“With everything being pretty much virtual now and so many things online and having more free time, we’re just seeing more of an increase of types of issues that crop up from being on the internet a lot,” said Detective Chad Opitz with the Beaverton Police Department.
Detective Opitz said kids still need stimulation and someone to talk to during this pandemic just as much as anybody.
“So find out where they’re getting that from because if they have a device, unless you have that phone completely locked down or that tablet, or that computer, if they have access to social media and the internet, I can almost guarantee you they’re talking to somebody,” he said.
Opitz said he also knows parents are tired right now, often working from home with their kids. He said that means they may relax on internet rules they usually have.
“It might be easier for them to say, okay, you get more time, you get more screen time, you get more online time, or internet time and that just creates more and more opportunity,” he said.
Opitz encourages parents to keep paying close attention and talk openly with their kids.
“If you kind of shut them out or you’re not in tune in what they’re doing and staying involved, they’re not going to come forward with much information unless you ask,” he said. “And you can do that in a way to where it’s a positive experience for them, meaning they’re not going to be in trouble if they come to you with, hey mom or dad, this person on this site started talking to me.”
Opitz has another piece of advice for parents. He said it’s not always the obvious sites parents should be looking for. He said predators use apps and sites that are often geared towards kids and that someone wouldn’t think of.
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