LUBBOCK, Texas — Local law enforcement offered tips for parents on how to keep their children safe from cybercrimes on Internet Safety Month.
“If you ask me, it’s a huge problem, even if it’s one case in the City of Lubbock would be a huge issue,” said Derek Smith, a detective with the Lubbock Police Department.
Smith said just this year alone, LPD had received 77 cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about people from Lubbock actively seeking out child sexual material on the internet.
Davela Siangeldeb, a special agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said since the pandemic, online crimes against children have been on the rise because children are meeting online instead of in person.
“Now they’re turning more to the internet. Now they’re socializing all online–sometimes 100% of the time,” said Siageldeb. “A lot of the offenders that we deal with are very skilled in manipulation. They’re crafty. They know how to talk to children.”
Smith said predators are always staying up to date on popular games and places to chat with children.
“They’ll go in on Minecraft chatrooms or Roblox and things of that nature,” said Smith. “They’ll go in and start talking to these kids and befriend them and make them think they’re just another innocent child.”
Smith and Siangeldeb said parents play a major role in helping stop these crimes and that the most vulnerable child is one without supervision.
Tips on keeping children safe from cybercrimes:
- Charge child’s phone in parent’s room
- Place computers in a room where internet activity is visible upon passing
- Know passwords on phones and computers to monitor activity
- Click on all phone apps to ensure they don’t pose danger or are disguised as something else
- Don’t allow children to take phones into bathrooms where there are mirrors
- Implement safeguards or permissions that require parental permission to download
- Check photos and deleted images on phones and computers
- Check sent/received messages and emails
- Have open communication and talk to your children about internet crimes
Smith said children could sometimes download and delete apps to appear as if they have not been using them. He said parents could go to settings on their phone to see which apps have used the most battery.