June is Internet Safety Month

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — As new generations of children continue to grow, the presence of the Internet is becoming more of a part of their daily lives.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen young people become more comfortable and insensitive to sharing private information and images on the Internet,” says agent Jeff Baumgartner.

Jeff Baumgartner is an Altoona Police Department officer and grandfather, who has seen first-hand some of the warning signs of internet abuse among children.

“When kids start protecting their electronics, maybe they’re always hiding their device and making sure that, you know, no one can see their phone,” he said. “A change in behavior, you know, if they’ve kind of withdrawn from friends and family and maybe focused more on using their phone to talk to people.”

With Baumgartner, early and established communication and trust between parent and child is essential to prevent the dangers of the Internet.

“It’s important that parents teach their children that they will have access to these devices and that it’s okay for parents to check them regularly,” he said. “You know, that doesn’t mean a lack of confidence, but I think it’s just good parenting to pay attention to what your kids are doing.”

Altoona’s parents, Robert and Elizabeth Chanell, have successfully used safety strategies like these with their children.

“My wife is all about the planning and I would say keep the computer in the living space and not in the bedroom,” Robert Chanell said. “We believe in checking the history and making sure they’re not watching things that are going to be detrimental to them.”

“With my own kids, I have to tell them all the time, guys, if there’s an ad, you have to skip the ads,” Elizabeth Chanell said.

While the internet can be helpful, Elizabeth Chanell says, “The internet shouldn’t be used as a babysitter.”

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has published a guide to help parents who are concerned that their children are using the Internet in dangerous ways.

We have more tips on how to stay safe here.

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