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Sexting among online dangers for kids
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How many times have you handed your child your phone, iPad or laptop to keep them occupied? Perhaps your children already have their own. According to American Academy of Pediatrics, 75 percent of children as young as 4 have their own mobile device.

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of everyday life, but there are online dangers parents need to realize.  Predators, bullying, sexting, pornography and mature content are among the risks of unsupervised online access.

 Just take a look at a few of these startling statistics:

• Average age of exposure to porn is 8-11 years old.
• Sixty-eight percent of teens say their parents don’t really talk to them about their social media or gaming use.
• Sexting stat: 9 out of 10 images go beyond their intended recipient.

Shawn Palombo, school counselor at Eastside School, says she has grown increasingly concerned for young people due to online behavior. Furthermore, she explained that just last year a sixth-grader shared a nude selfie with her boyfriend, who then shared it with multiple others. These type of incidents are becoming common.

“I don’t think parents fully understand the dangers or the seriousness of sexting and other online influences,” said Palombo. “By the time parents talk with me, they are in a panic because they’ve been caught off guard.” 

Under current Tennessee law, minors sending and receiving sexually suggestive photos could be labeled as sex offenders for involvement with child pornography. In fact, this one mistake could place the minor on the sex offender registry until age 25, which means he or she would be required to report this on all college or job applications.

In an effort to prepare parents, protect kids, or rescue them from toxic online activity, a free adult workshop entitled “Winning A Generation” will be held Saturday, May 5 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Westwood Church of Christ. The guest speakers will be husband and wife duo Jesse and Sara Siegand. Coffee and light breakfast items will be provided.

So why go? Organizers say the best way to protect your child is to prepare your child and the best way to prepare your child is to prepare yourself.

Chad High, principal at Granbery Elementary School in Brentwood said, “The presentation is one all parents must see. They do an effective job communicating the urgency of why we need to protect our kids while online. I left this workshop with strategies and resources to immediately start fighting the battle in my home.”