Protecting Your Children Online

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) - Do you know what PBB means? If not, experts say you need to brush up on what your child is doing and saying online.

Local authorities say two rapes and one missing person here in East Tennessee is enough to put them on high alert.

And as Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel explains, you should be, too.

The Internet can be resourceful, even fun, but you've got to know the lingo. PBB means parent behind the back, a warning to the other chat buddy that a parent is watching.

So, just because your child is sitting behind the screen of a computer, it doesn't mean they can't easily put themselves out there in the path of a predator.

It's wildly popular and wildly dangerous.

"A lot of children are giving out way too much information, way too much personal information," Knox County Sheriff's captain Brian Stannard said.

But after a presentation by the Knox County Sheriff's Office, some teens are thinking twice before posting because they have to think twice about who they're talking to.

"You're always like, 'Oh that's never going to happen to me, I'm just talking to my friends', but it's now you're like, 'I'm not really sure if it's them," 15-year-old Kirsten Deggs said.

"I'm changing a lot of the information I have on there and I'm also taking off because they have surveys on there you can take, like your hair color your, eye color and stuff like that and that's definitely going off," 15-year-old Alyssa Mahal said.

Marybeth Mayhal's daughters brought her here to learn.

"They tell me I'm a little paranoid on things, so I need to educate myself," Marybeth said.

But experts say, parents should be overprotective.

"Children are more savvy than the adults, when the Internet use first started happening, the adults were at the forefront, now the children are and that's part of the problem," Stannard said.

And while moms, like Marybeth, know the kids know the rules.

"They have to be off the computer by 10 o'clock," Marybeth said.

Most parents aren't familiar with all the online tools.

"I don't know a whole lot about the computers and my girls have MySpace, and I don't know a lot about it," Marybeth said.

And by increasing her knowledge, she can help her daughters decrease the chance of becoming an online victim.

"I know my age is wrong on there. I have it as I'm 18, but I have a feeling I'm going home and changing that," Mahal said.

There's also a list of danger signs to look for. For example, if your child minimizes the screen when you walk into the room, that's a pretty good sign that they might be doing something they aren't supposed to be doing.

You can learn more at the next Internet Safety Class. That will be held June 5th at seven p.m. at the Stock Creek Baptist Church on Martin Mill Pike.


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