NJ parents get holiday warning about online dangers
The social media sites your kids are visiting are potentially dangerous. Authorities are reminding New Jersey parents that predators frequently visit these sites, sometimes pretending to be children themselves, looking for opportunities to contact kids and take advantage of them.
Child safety experts are kicking off a campaign Monday to encourage parents to talk with their youngsters before they hand over that new cell phone, laptop or tablet for Christmas or Hanukkah.
Lt. John Pizzuro, commander of the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, says for the next few weeks members of his unit will be visiting nine malls during evening hours to remind parents that “technology, while it’s great, there’s also some warnings that need to go along with it.”
He stressed it’s important for parents to become familiar with the social media sites and apps their kids are using.
“Children sometimes post things that they shouldn’t post. There is cyber-bullying, so it’s not just predatory, it’s keeping their kids safe as they grow.”
He said as kids get older there are social pressures they will face and “they’re going to think about posting pictures that they shouldn’t, or post things that are inappropriate.”
He noted everybody gets specific training before they have a driver’s license. Technology is different.
"You go to buy a phone or buy a computer or a tablet, there aren’t warning signs associated with it, so having a communication and talking openly with your children when they receive these gifts is very important.”
The task force will be visiting the following New Jersey malls as part of the holiday Keeping Our Children Safe campaign:
Dec 3 — Freehold Raceway
Dec 4 — Hamilton Mall
Dec. 5 — Ocean County Mall
Dec. 6 — Cherry Hill
Dec 7 — Menlo Park Mall
Dec 10 — Deptford Mall
Dec 12 — The Mall at Short Hills
Dec 14 — Bridgewater Commons
Dec 17 — Garden State Plaza