Internet safety for youth during COVID-19

News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Young people are more vulnerable to child exploitation on the internet during Utah’s COVID-19 stay at home orders and school closures, according to police.

Investigators say, more than ever, children are feeling bored, isolated and in need of social interaction, which predators are aware of.

RELATED: Feds warn of increase of child predators after several current arrests in Utah

“Predators are very savvy when it comes to the internet and being able to sort of lure children into conversations, and young people are curious by nature,” explained Christina Sally, Investigator, Summit County Attorney’s Office.

Sally says the risk to your children could be even higher during the COVID-19 pandemic because children are spending longer hours on electronic devices.

“It’s the perfect venue for predators,” she told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson. “Those conversations as they befriend that child and groom that child can very easily turn sexual.”

The investigator says teenagers are more likely to tell a peer when something happens. Young people will also tell a trusted adult at their school or in their community. Those avenues of reporting have been cut off due to isolation.

“I think that that’s why it’s so important for parents and caregivers to monitor make sure that they’re asking their kids who are you talking to, that they have passwords, they put some other protections in place, and that they monitor what their kids are doing.”

Here are some resources and valuable information from Summit County:

Top parental control apps of 2020 from consumersadvocate.org:

Bark
Qustodio
Web Watcher
Net Nanny
Family Time
Norton
Eset

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