How to keep teens safe from online dangers

Posted at 5:42 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 19:40:31-04
Whether its Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, almost everyone has some sort of social media account, especially teenagers.
Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but you may not realize who can see your post, and how you could be setting yourself up to be a target.
Mauricio Papa, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Tulsa says there is always one thing people, no matter their age, should think about, "What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet," said Papa. "Anything they post--it's there now, it’s going to be there tomorrow, and most likely it’s going to be there 5-10 years from now."   
Papa says is also important to control your audience and make sure you know who is seeing what you post on your social media accounts.
Jason Weis, President and co-founder of The Demand Project says a lot of  predators look to social media to find their victims.
"I think parents need to really understand that 82 percent of the sex crimes against children, where the sex offender used social media, 82 percent of the time they use that to find out the likes and dislikes of the target," said Weis.
The Demand Project works to help people, especially children, from being a target for sexual exploitation. Click here to find out more about The Demand Project's A.W.A.R.E Workshop May 13th.
2 Works for You had Weis see what he could find about a group of Green Country high school sophomores.
He is not friends with any of them, but did find a out a lot about them from the things they posted online.
"I think it's scary because you don't realize that people can actually find literally anything about you," said Kyra. "It makes me want to be more cautious about posting certain things. I've never really thought about it, it makes me want to think about it."
Weis says he does not do this to scare people, he just wants them to realize the dangers potential dangers to which they're opening themselves up. He wants parents and students to be aware.
This is something Professor Papa agrees with. "My main advice would be control your audience, make sure you 're aware of who can see the information about you."
Both Weis and Papa say parents should also always be familiar with the apps their children have on their phones.
"It comes down to looking at their phones and going through them, being able to identify the apps that you should be concerned about," said Weis. "If your child has Kik, get rid or it! Kik is probably the worst app that a kid can have on their phone."
They also say that if anyone bothers your child on social media, go right to the police. Do not try and handle it yourself because you could end up compromising a police investigation.

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