Internet Safety Night keeps parents informed about online dangers

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DICKINSON, N.D. - Social media is constantly growing, which means the potential dangers children face online is increasing as well.

Dickinson police want parents and teens to be aware of the risks.

Sixth grader Hayden Schuster is a routine online gamer, so he knows a thing or two about internet safety.

"If they're asking like weird questions like where do you live and all that other stuff, do not answer any of those questions at all," says Schuster.

But not all tweens and teens are as cautious as Hayden. That's why the police department held an internet safety night for students and parents alike.

"I always tell parents communication is the key. Talk to their kids, their teens, find out, ask them what their using. We always recommend that parents know the passwords, logins for all cellular or electronic devices," says Det. Travis Leintz Dickinson Police Dept.

Police spoke with parents about the dozens of social media platforms teens use. They taught students the risk they take if they are involved with sexting.

"If they do send an inappropriate picture, how it gets around to other people, it does stay on the internet forever and that could follow them through adulthood with career choices, jobs, college stuff," says Brandon Stockie, Corporal, SRO.

School counselor Lynelle Urlacher has watched 10 years of online evolution with her sixth grade students - one of the most vulnerable age groups for online dangers.

"It's just so much more a part of our lives now. And as parents, as adults, we have to keep pace with it," says Urlacher.

Her advice to parents? Be vigilant, and be proactive.

"Don't ever allow them to have online unrestricted access to a social media in their bedroom unattended," says Urlacher.

So that Facebook, Snapchat, and other sites can be a safe and fun space for teens.

A study by the Pew Research center found that 24 percent of teens say they go online almost constantly. ​