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How Safe Are Your Kids Online?

A Hudson Valley Man sentenced to prison for sexually exploiting children- Keep your kids safe

teen internet safety

How safe are your kids online?

Last week a Hudson Valley man from New Paltz was sentenced to 30 years in prison after confessing he used PS4, Skype, Zoom and cell phones to sexually exploit four children ages 11-13. The man was ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution and will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

Related: Should You be Tracking Your Child's Internet Usage?

What can parents do?

The digital world is evolving on a daily basis, making it a challenge for parents to keep up. Here are ways to help you try!

  1. Invest in a tracking program or a filter that can help you monitor what your children do and where they go online.
  2. Talk, talk, talk! Engage in conversations with kids about social media sites. Go online with your children and have them explain the apps they use to you.
  3. Check your child’s screen names and profile information for identifying information such as birth years, gender and hometown.
  4. Teach kids to be mindful of who they are ‘friends’ with online. Remove anyone they do not know in person.
  5. Tell them over and over again not to EVER give out any personal information such as phone numbers and addresses, friends’ names, etc. Make sure kids NEVER make plans to meet a stranger in person.
  6. Set rules and limits with your child.
  7. Reach out to your child’s school tech team for further advice and support.

Important: Information on Project Safe Child

A good rule of thumb to remember and to remind children is that if you wouldn’t do something face-to-face, don’t do it online. Announcing something online is just as much the real world as walking into school and announcing the same things. Children tend to feel protected by the anonymity of the internet and need to be reminded that poor decisions and risky behavior can carry the same consequences.