Keeping your child safe online during the pandemic

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV ) — The coronavirus pandemic means more children are at home and spending more time online. Now experts are saying it’s creating lots of opportunities for online predators.

Denise Alexander with the Nashville non-profit “Our Kids Center” says parents need to have an ongoing conversation with their kids about online safety. “We’re always reluctant as parents to talk to our kids about things that are uncomfortable and it’s a hard thing to do, but if you don’t talk to your kids, somebody at school is talking to them or some stranger online is manipulating them and telling them things that aren’t true as well,” Alexander said.

Startling numbers from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show its tipline saw a 126 percent increase in calls when comparing the number of suspected child sexual exploitation cases in May of this year to last.

Some of the guidelines the center recommends include having a central docking station at home that kids can plug their devices into before going to bed.

The center also recommends that parents limit their child’s screen time each day and create house rules about cell phone or online usage.

Experts also say parents need to realize their child will make mistakes.

“How you handle the mistakes that they make because of impulsivity or being naive, peer pressure, how you react to and respond to that is really going to pave the road for if they come to you the next time if they’ve made a mistake,” Alexander said.

For more tips on keeping your child safe online, visit the Our Kids Center website by clicking here: ourkidscenter.com

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