Expert explains how to protect your children online


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A teenage girl has been reunited with her family after being abducted by an online predator. 

North Miami Beach police said a 15-year-old met her abductor through a video game chat before he took her from her home.

Dr. Kathy Koch, president of Celebrate Kids, said many parents have no idea how easy it is for strangers to communicate with children online.

“It’s a very important reason for us to guard our children and not let them have devices — perhaps in their bedrooms — where they’re alone and we’re not supervising them,” Koch said.

Meanwhile, a chat site used by a recently located teen before her disappearance is raising eyebrows with its perceived lack of supervision.

Omegle was a site visited by the recently recovered daughter of Nicole McKiernan prior to the child’s disappearance; the site led to the teen meeting up and staying with a man in Chicago.

Koch believes some children don’t realize the inherent danger of talking with a stranger through video games or social media.

“I think a lot of them think that they wouldn’t happen to them,” she said. “They think they’re above it all. They’re the center of their own universe. They think that they’re their own authority.”

Koch also believes there tends to be a gap in technical experience and some parents are struggling to keep up with the steady stream of apps that are being released.

“A lot of parents today are using devices that do not have any social media or internet or gaming — nothing can be added. Those devices now exist.”

She also said parents should consider monitoring their online activity.

“You can track your children through a watch or a phone. And I think people need to look into that,” she said. “And again, we need to make sure that we know what we’re doing and let our kids teach us.”

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