RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Online mistakes can have real consequences. That's the message Richmond School Resource Officer Josh Hale teaches students about social media.
"They're doing the sexting thing and it becomes a serious issue," he stated about a real problem.
Don't just dismiss this as a problem for other places. On Tuesday, Richmond Police arrested 19-year-old James Guy II for using social media and texts to meet up and have sex with an 11-year-old girl.
"In the fast paced world of media that we live in, if we don't educate we're basically wasting our time," answered Hale, which is why he takes the lessons he teaches children very seriously.
"For the kids, we educate them. 'Hey, if you do this, this will attract this kind of attention,'" but Officer Hale also takes parents to school when it comes to online risks.
"A lot of the parents just don't realize what their kids are into," he started, "because kids have apps that they can hide photos from you, they can hide videos from you, but that doesn't really make the stuff disappear on the phone."
Technology is always changing which is why Officer Hale encourages parents to keep up with the current trends so they know what their kids are involved in.
"Kids are so much better, now, at technology than we are. By the time a parent will learn about it, a lot of times the kids have moved on to something else."
One lesson he wants both parents and kids to learn is beware of what you post and where you post it from.
"A lot of these things will give the actual GPS location of where they're at," Hale cautioned, "sexual predators are actually on there and they can sit there and watch you, and follow you on everything that you're doing. The kids don't realize it because they don't even know that they're friends with those people."
Another warning the officer gives is for parents to consider what electronics in your home has internet access. Aside from computers and phones, Officer Hale reminds parents to monitor internet activity on tablets and even gaming systems that connect to the internet. He said that is a new way for people to engage your children online and in a way many parents may not think to check.
The internet and technology will continue to be there, but education can be a powerful tool for your kids and for you.