The dangers kids face online

Published: Feb. 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:55 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – There are dangers kids face everyday online and certain websites can add to that risk.

Patti Fowler, Internet Safety Coordinator for the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, visited St. James elementary on Thursday morning to talk about internet safety with a group of students.

Fowler emphasized posting personal information online is a big cause for concern and so is their growing use of media websites. Elementary aged students don't always understand the risks involved with using the internet.

Fowler explains there are predators online who target kids and teens on social media websites. Another issue with social media, those sites are meant for older users, and the content may be inappropriate for elementary aged students. According to Fowler, an alarming number of underage kids are on Facebook.

"Children and parent are surprised to learn that you're supposed to be 13 to use most social media websites," said Fowler.

St. James Elementary principal, Mary Beth Heath, says social media websites are blocked at school, but most students can access them at home.

"Even though they're under aged, we do know and they tell us, that they get onto social media," said Heath.

Some of the do's and don'ts of browsing online Fowlers points are simple. Like kids shouldn't post any private information like their name sex or age, or give passwords to anyone except their parents. Fowler encourages kids to talk to their parents about anything online that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable.

Fowler doesn't just teach kids about these dangers; she has advice for parents, too.

"Monitor and supervise your children when they're on the internet. Just like on their off line lives, they need supervision and monitoring on their online lives as well."

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