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Keep Children Safe From Evil

Many local parents try their best to keep an eye on their children’s online activities. Failure to do so can have terrible consequences, as a situation just down the river in Washington County, Ohio, reminds us.

There, a 23-year-old man allegedly communicated with a child via Instagram, arranged a meeting — paid off a younger sibling not to talk — and then raped the older child.

“They get befriended by someone that they think is similar in age to them, but that person may not even look like the photos they’re posting online or be the same age,” said Capt. Brian Rhodes of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Staying up to speed with all the “social media” offerings can be difficult. It is essential for parents to do that, however, to safeguard their children. It also is vital to talk with children frequently about what they do online and the potential dangers lurking there.

“Reassure that they’re not in trouble,” suggests Doug Pfeifer, executive director of behavioral health firm Life and Purpose Services. “‘I’m curious about your experiences and what you use it for’ is a good way to open that discussion,” he adds.

Such conversations should happen repeatedly. This is not a one-time discussion, no matter how difficult it is to remain so vigilant. Predators are not reducing their efforts.

Our kids need our help to avoid them and ward them off. Talk to them. Today.

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