Protecting children from online dangers

Police say parents don't think their kids are the ones at risk

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local law enforcement and mental health professionals teamed up to make sure parents have all the information they need to monitor their kids online.

“The internet is a wild, wild west show,” which is why parents need to get up to speed if they want to protect their kids online. The Westfield Youth Coalition hosted a forum Thursday night to help educate parents, but no one showed up.

Westfield Police Sgt. Eric Hall said it could be because many parents just don’t think their kids are at-risk; “The problem is, it’s one of those topics that no one thinks is going to happen to them, right up until it does. So it’s difficult to get people out and to actually start talking about things like this.”

Now a days, kids could face everything from cyberbullying to sexual predators online. Clinician Kelly Cosimini said, “It’s a lot harder than it was say back in the 90’s, or even a few years ago, especially if parents aren’t monitoring them all the time.”

The youth coalition plans to reschedule the meeting, in hopes more parents will attend. Organizers said a school concert and the weather could be the reasons for low turnout.

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