MCSO talks to parents about social media dangers

Posted at 11:08 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 23:35:15-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- When was the last time you really checked in one what your kids are going online and who they're talking to?

The Martin County Sheriff's Office is stressing to parents the importance of keeping up with social media and all of the apps children and teens are using.

Thursday, detectives spoke to more than 100 parents about the dangers of social media, and how parents can protect their children from bullies, predators or from revealing information about themselves that doesn't need to be public.

Detectives say they see kids as young as 8-years-old on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media apps.

Jeff Jerkins is a father to two boys, ages 10 and 13.

His youngest son has a tablet. His oldest has a cell phone.

"You know, the thing is, I've gone online. As soon as they tell me someone they like, I go behind their back. I go online and I check them out," Jerkins said.

Jerkins says doing so has been beneficial.

"My oldest son had a situation about a year and a half ago where some kid found out who he was and was threatening to beat him up.  He was older, and I stepped in and spoke to the young man and persuaded him not to do that," Jerkins said.

Detectives talked to parents about apps like Kik, Twitter and Facebook where you can post pictures, information about yourself and talk privately.

They also discussed how strangers can talk to their children through gaming systems.

Detectives want parents to be just as connected as their children.

"Invade their E-life. See what they're looking at and see who they're keeping track of," Jerkins said.