A message from Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers
Our youth are constantly connected to technology and social media. Whether it is a smart-phone, tablet, or laptop, they can communicate online in the blink of an eye. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are just a few well-known social media apps. On Facebook, anyone who is added as a contact is considered a “friend.” Does your child really know who they are “friending?”
Predators take advantage of social media by disguising themselves with a fake online profile. By acting a certain age or gender, they can easily lure a child or teen into communicating with them. After just a few messages, they can often convince youth to share personal information, or even meet in person, making them vulnerable victims. The slang term for this is “catfishing.” If you don’t think it can happen to your child, our detectives suggest you watch the video below.
“Catfishing” can be very dangerous. We are not trying to scare you, but rather encourage you to communicate with the children in your life about the potential risks of trusting someone they have never met. Work with them to determine what is and is not safe information to share. If they want to meet a new friend, agree on a plan that will ensure their safety.
Our best advice is for parents to befriend their children on the apps they use so they can better monitor their use.
It’s not uncommon for kids to have multiple Facebook accounts, so parents need to be proactive about keeping up with them.
The best time to have these conversations is BEFORE your kids create a social media account (which is earlier and earlier now). Let’s work together to keep kids safe online!
You might be surprised what youth will fall for online. Don’t let your child get “Catfished”!
For more information and tips, visit our web site at www.lincolncountysheriff.net and Like us on Facebook at Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Oregon.