Houston - Calling all parents: Crime Stoppers of Houston would like to invite you to their virtual classes to help protect your children from online drama. They'll be giving you advice on everything from cyberbullying to dangeorus online challenges.
Children and teens have a lot more time on their hands during the current pandemic and that has advocates concerned about their well-being.
"Usage is going to go up, there's a spike in TikTok, eight hours of non-school activities, so opportunities increase as well," explains Jammy Kiddundu, who's an attorney in Houston and social advocate. So while there's a platform for bad things to happen, parents can turn this into something positive. "Parents are being born into this technology world that kids were born into - parents are now buying webcams, using ZOOM, worrying about how they look, now they can identify with what that child is going through and able to speak that child's language," explains Jammy. He's concerned that children and teens might not only hurt themselves, but could even die from online challenges. "There's an increase of them, challenges can be fun but dangerous, and we want to talk to them and remind them that instead of silly things they can do to try to become more popular, need to use a common sense approach of things they're willing to partake in," says Jammy.
Precinct-One Constable Alan Rosen says he couldn't agree more. "I've seen these TikTok videos that are grossly inappropriate and someone can get hurt and our healthcare system is already overwhelmed with covid cases and other illnesses they deal with and this will just add to that," says Mr. Rosen.
Constable Rosen reminds parents they're paying for their child's phone, so they should know everything their child is doing on that phone. "I just wrapped up an internet crimes arrests initiative and netted ten people, so the worst thing you can do is to allow your child to sit in a room at 10 o'clock at night and surf the internet & go to these social media sites without you knowing, there are a lot of predators out there and we are concerned about that," says the Constable.
Parents can learn even more about protecting their kids through Crime Stoppers online classes. Jammy will lead the one focusing on how to prevent cyber bullying. "We created a partnership because I have my own social advocacy effort and Crimestoppers took note of it and asked if I would come on board to help them both modify their cyber safety program & create a cyber bullying program," says Jammy.
Check out this link for the full schedule of "social discussions while social distancing", as the topics change daily. https://crime-stoppers.org/events/