Be aware of the dangers associated with social media | Local

Social media is a pastime for children of all ages. However, many children and parents are unaware of the dangers invited by what they post .

“There is way too much personal information available on social media,” said Lt. Brian Smith. “Parents are posting pictures of their children, and the children are posting pictures of their location. In today’s time, this is very dangerous thing.”

P arents using social media should never value their number of friends more than they value their children , Smith said .

“Yes, parents love to show their children off,” Smith said. “But sharing too much information about children can be dangerous.”

According to Dothan Police Investigator James Harvey, complaints regarding deception on social media accounts occur constantly in law enforcement.

“Parents must monitor their children’s social media accounts,” Harvey said. “We receive complaints all the time from parents stating an older man is making contact with their young daughter. The truth is anyone can make up a profile for social media. Everyone needs to understand, you truly never know who is on the other side of the computer or phone. Be careful.”

People should be careful when accepting friend requests , advises Sgt. Ronald Hall.

“If you have no idea who someone is , why accept their friend request ? ” Hall said. “If someone sends you a friend request and you have no idea who that individual is, be smart and delete it.”

I nvestigators say another issue that needs to be addressed is car decals.

“Many individuals will place sport decals on their car showing their child plays sports,” Smith said. “That decal usually states their child’s name as well as something that indentified their school. To me, this can be dangerous, especially if someone sees that child exit the vehicle, or watches that child walk home. The child’s name is provided and this can cause a problem with the “ stranger danger ” tactic. If someone calls a child’s name out, that child tends to think that individual knows them when they don’t. When someone has evil intentions, they can utilize any information that is available. Parents and children of all ages need to be careful, and parents need to monitor their children. Parents always need to know what their children are doing, as well as who they are with.”

Family member decals can be dangerous as well, Hall said .

“We have vehicles driving all over town that show one mother and three children or so forth,” Hall said. “To someone with evil intentions, that mother just told everyone she is single and a mother of three — meaning someone who is up to no good can use that information to cause harm. Individuals just need to be more careful.”

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