FARGO — With schools in the Fargo-Moorhead metro giving students laptops for distance learning, protecting children from online predators becomes an even greater issue.
"Anywhere that you can put on a headset and chat with people, predators are gravitating towards," warned The Innocent Lives Foundation's Samantha Gamble.
Gamble tells parents to start by having an age-appropriate talk about the signs of grooming to their kids.
"If they're older, talk about sexting," Gamble said. "If they're younger, just talk about images and establishing boundaries."
She also suggests simply hanging out with kids to learn their habits.
"You may not be interested in the video games they're playing and not want to hear any of that, but that's really how you'll understand that baseline of who they're communicating with and how they talk," Gamble said.
The goal is to create open communication and ease into the conversation so your child doesn't shut you out.
"You can be like, 'I'm asking you this because I care about you, I don't think that you're doing something wrong but I want you to know what to look out for,'" Gamble suggests.
According to Gamble, things your kids should watch out for are:
- A stranger trying to build a relationship with them.
- Trying to get them away from their family or friends, both emotionally and physically.
- Pushing them to move to a different method of communication.
Parents can find more resources to teach their children about the dangers of online predators on innocentlivesfoundation.org