SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – While many Utah children have gone back to school in the classrooms, many will be tackling the school year from home and taking online classes. Law enforcement is warning parents about the increased dangers of predators preying on children over the internet.

Detective Tammy Thacker spoke with ABC4 News about the increased threat of children falling vulnerable to predators.

“A lot of parents have to work and kids are being left home more and more just because they don’t have a choice, and then they’re vulnerable to different websites or different predators reaching out and trying to make contact with them.”

It might be tempting for students to skip class and watch videos, or partake in online gaming, and that’s how predators initially make contact.

“They’ll play the same game that they’re playing and participate in the same game and then they’ll become friends and start talking to them. Then they’ll have kids move to different avenues like Snapchat or different places where they can have conversations with them, and get them to trust them, and then start working their way into getting pictures of them or asking to meet up with them,” Thacker explained.

Detective Thacker said parents should speak with their children about internet safety and make sure they’re staying on track with their school work.

“Just know what they’re doing. Monitor their devices, monitor what their phones are doing, monitor what they’re doing, and keep an open dialogue.”

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