Created in cyberspace are billions of words, bound for every corner of the world. Viral videos and the latest memes are born on the internet. It only takes one like or retweet to send a message to millions.
But sometimes the message is personal and the outcome can be harmful. Those messages are even felt in the Tri-State.
The rise of social media shows no signs of stopping. Facebook and Twitter are popular places to share good news, but they can also be havens for rumors, gossip, or worse — and that can put kids at risk.
A warning to Owensboro parents from police, Thursday night from Kentucky State Police, Trooper Corey King.
Mom and dad, teachers and counselors can give advice, but the message carries a little more weight coming from a man in uniform with a gun.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier with the world at our finger tips. Sometimes a seemingly simple post can make things much more complicated.
“If it falls in the wrong hands, they’re lured into a path sometimes they can’t recover from,” Kings says about words and pictures send from kids to the web.
Children are on social media every day, but predators are virtually undetectable behind a keyboard.
King says it’s crucial for parents to see what your kids are doing. “Don’t rely on law enforcement to do it because there’s not enough of us.”
An app called “Roblox” is one example of how a social app targeting children can be manipulated by predators. The app allows for role playing, but according to a recent article on kidspot.com, sometimes sexual messages are shared.
King says there’s more than 1.2 million apps on the smartphone market with 60,000 released every month. “There’s no way that a parent who’s working, going every day back and forth can really stay up on this,” he adds.
But games aren’t the only platform for a kid to get in trouble. King says 1 in 5 teens admit to sexting, but those are just the teens who admit to it.
“I venture to say it is 1 in 3, maybe 1 in 4 that are involved in sexting,” King says, “and that’s a felony in Kentucky.”
The age of consent in the Commonwealth is 16, but sharing pictures of the act could land the kids behind bars.
So King says educate, monitor, and communicate. He encourages parents to friend and follow their children on social media, and follow their friends too. He says it might not be you kid who’s getting into trouble but their friends could get them involved.