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On Thursday evening, the Frankfort Police Department held their first of three training sessions being offered on child internet safety. The free class is held at and hosted by the Frankfort Police Department and co-hosted by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and is intended to prevent child abuse. The two-hour class is is funded by a grant from the Child Victims Trust Fund of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky. The class size is very limited as this is such an extensive issue for parents to deal with.

When we were kids and were being bullied at school, that harassment stopped at the threshold of our homes as our parents were there to protect us after that. The phones were attached to our homes and they knew exactly who we were talking to and where we were. They knew who we hung out with because they met our friends and their parents before they ever let us start hanging around them. Times have changed. And as parents, we have to adapt to those changes.

Let’s face it, the internet is not “a fad” and it’s here to stay. It can be a very useful tool when used properly. And it can be welded as a weapon when abused. Remember as a kid those dark and scary corners of a street you were uneasy walking down because you were afraid a stranger may jump out and get you? Or, the dark corners of an old home that wasn’t very well lit that you thought ghosts lingered and waited to scare you? The internet has an infinite number of places that predators can lurk and lure your child in when they are most vulnerable.

There are literally dozens of apps that our children use daily to communicate with. And we, as parents, need to be aware of them and diligent of our children’s activities online. Their cell phones, tablets and other electronic devices aren’t used for just talking and texting anymore. These devices are being used as a door to let strangers walk into their lives and our homes! Do you know who YOUR child chats with? Do you know what apps they are using to communicate with? Do you know what all the acronyms mean and the texting lingo is that they are using? Do you know that only 69% of parents are friends with their kids on Facebook? And what apps and websites are they using AFTER Facebook to stay one step ahead of their parents? Today’s kids are smart and tech savvy. As fast as the internet is changing our lives, parents have to be able to change with it and adapt to protect their kids who are using it. Because the predators are already there – waiting.

The word predator by definition means “an animal that naturally preys on others” or “a person or group that ruthlessly exploits others”. With the advent of the internet, it has become a natural “hunting ground” for these types of people – those who prey on and exploit others. The use of the word has dramatically risen since the internet has become part of our lives. As parents, we need to arm ourselves with information to protect those trying to harm our youth.

The Frankfort Police Department will offer two more of these classes before the end of the year. The next class will be on Tuesday, October 4th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. And then again on Monday, December 5th at the same times. If interest is high and those two remaining classes fill up, more classes may be added. But if you really want to protect your child, we highly recommend signing up for one of the available classes as soon as possible. Remember that the classes offered are FREE to you. The only thing it will cost is two hours (max) of your time. Isn’t your child(ren) worth it? To register, email mallen@ky.gov.

Our thanks to Officer Marie Allen with the FPD and Allyson Cox Taylor with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. They both added insight to the first class given and are a wonderful resource and advocate for our children of the community and commonwealth. For more information about this program and this partnership, click HERE.