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Martin County Sheriff's Office offers course for parents to keep children safe online

Posted at 5:33 AM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 05:58:10-05

The Martin County Sheriff's office has a course for parents struggling to understand and keep up with their kids' safety online and on social media.

As we found out, the course is chalk full of good information.

"We are here tonight to find out what your children are doing online," said Corporal Brian Broughton with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

On a weekday evening in a church meeting room in Stuart, a group of parents listens to representatives from the sheriff's office speak about the dangers of social media.

"I think you guys should go back an inventory and see what sort of name, persona they are using on the internet," he said.

He urged parents in the room to look at their kids' online presence, privacy settings, if their friends online are friends in real life.

Broughton also warned of apps like a fake calculator that teenagers use to hide photos and urged parents to use built-in software for Apple and Android that lets families link their phones together.

"The main takeaway from that is to go into the family setup and set up your child’s phone on yours," Broughton said.

The course also teaches you the signs of cyberbullying.

"Let's say they love their phone and the next thing you know they don’t really go on their phone anymore," he said. "They get a text message and they are kind of apprehensive to check it out."

Sgt. Matthew Immordino works with the special victims unit at the Martin County Sheriff's Office. He said it all comes down to open lines of communication between parents and kids.

"Having a conversation with your children would probably be the top priority understanding they need the education," said Immordino. "If you’ve started with that education with your children, it makes it a little easier to have that conversation when something bad does happen."

If you are interested in something like this or have a group of parents who might be, the sheriff's office will come to you or you can go there to take the course. You can call the non-emergency line at (772) 220-7000 for more information.