Police detective lectures parents on tech safety for kids – Winchester Sun

Police detective teaches parents about technical safety for children

Published 9:44 am Wednesday 21 September 2022

Detective Steve Charles of the Winchester Police Department has been investigating for nearly four years and has since become a go-to resource for cell phone forensics.

While speaking to children has become common, Charles spoke to a different group last Tuesday night.

Over two dozen adults showed up at the Baker Intermediate School library for a “Cyber ​​Eyes: Internet Safety Class for Parents and Guardians” discussion, chaired by Charles, where he shared points to consider and actions to take to protect their children from the risks of technology.

“I think it brings out the most information. Parents want to learn. They want to protect their children,” Charles said. “I’ve seen that when people come to me with things they found on their kids’ phones, secret apps and stuff like that, it has a huge impact.”

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The idea for the discussion came from Casey Davis, who is currently the school’s family resources coordinator.

“I have three boys, so there [were] lots of things I had questions about,” Davis said. “He came to our school four years ago to talk to the students. I asked him if he would come and see the parents.”

At the meeting, Davis discussed various apps — including lesser-known ones — and how kids can use them to hide information from parents or others who want to see it.

According to Charles, parents need to be proactive, even if it sometimes makes their child resent it.

“What’s on your kids’ phones is the most important thing you really need to know,” Charles said. “Knowing what they are doing is key. Actually knowing who her friends are is tremendous. When someone is on the other phone [and] You don’t know them, they are not true friends.”

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Charles made his final comment about the risk of encountering online predators.

Alongside this threat, Charles spoke about cyberbullying, the risks involved and the impact peer pressure can have on children.

An example of this was Michelle Carter, a Massachusetts teenager who was convicted of manslaughter after tragically but successfully encouraging her boyfriend to take his own life.

Carter would eventually be released from prison in 2020.

“Kids don’t understand that people out there can hurt them. [They think] Her friends are her friends and everyone has good intentions,” Charles said.

For these reasons, Charles points out that children sometimes give out sensitive details — like their phone number, address, and more.

Chief James Hall, who was also present at the meeting, spoke about how children sometimes text – commonly referred to as sexting – or otherwise send inappropriate photos. It’s a message Chief Hall understood himself after seventeen years of investigation.

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“Bet on where they are on the maturity scale, on the developmental scale, how far they are progressing… You’re going to have a large number that’s already sent a picture to someone,” Hall said.
Fortunately, when parents bring their child’s cell phone to the police station, the matter can be resolved quickly and constructively.

However, according to Baker Intermediate School principal Josh Mounts, staying alert is key.

“Raising awareness among parents, grandparents and other relatives who are raising children … I think that’s important,” Mounts said. “It’s going to be an endless battle because, like [Detective Charles] said the technology is not going away.”
Detective Charles will return to Baker Intermediate School in October to address the same issues and concerns with students.

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