Cyber Safety Unit Warns Parents

By Michael Stafford
Newswest 9

Sgt. Paul Aleman of Austin is touring the state trying desperately to get parents attenion.  He says our children are a lot smarter than you might think during this technological age, and he's warning you to take control of the situation by monitoring their behavior.

"These predators are taking their tactics from the streets knowing that our children are going on-line to the social networking sites and chat rooms.  So, it's dangerous for any child out there on the internet," says Sgt. Aleman. 

It's estimated that one in seven children have been solicited by an on-line predator, and at the same time, only about 52 percent of parents moderately supervise their children's computer activities.

Michelle Juarez of Odessa is among the small percentage of parents who watch their kids, every move.  She has three kids and two of them are aged 14 and 11.  Michelle knows first hand what happens if you turn your back for just one second.

"I had asked them not to get on the chat room sites, and I allowed them to be in my office.  Things got real quiet, and I snuck in, and they were chatting with someone about pot and drugs," says Juarez.

Experts say you should keep the computer somewhere besides your child's bedroom.  There's blocking software to protect which sites they can access especially those pornographic in nature.  Does your child have a Myspace site?  And is there personal information that a predator has easy access to. 

It's never too late to talk to your kids, find out who their friends are, and be familiar with the latest technology that could one day get your child into serious danger.