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Lauderdale County educators to school parents on internet safety

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FLORENCE, Ala. – Come Christmas morning Santa Claus will be dropping off lots of wish list items for little boys and girls. Topping this year’s list are electronic devices such as phones, iPad’s, and gaming systems. One school system in northwest Alabama is stepping up to help parents keep their kids safe while using them.

It’s the norm for kids. They’ve grown up in school and at home with an electronic device in their hands. Parents can be quite naive when it comes to keeping them safe.

“They feel like if they just download some of the children’s games and activities, that their children are okay. What they don’t realize is these children are very, very internet savvy,” stated Freda Bevis with the Lauderdale County Board of Education.

Administrators with the Lauderdale County Board of Education are teaming up with community partners to help parents. They have a presentation planned for Tuesday night at the Board of Education Annex which will show parents some of the red flags to be on the look-out for.

“Children who want to be secretive can download apps that look like a calculator or look like a benign app, and when you open it up it actually leads you to a portal for more things,” explained school system social worker Wesley Puckett.

One of Puckett’s major concerns, no matter what device a child might have, predators.

“Most of these apps do not have any way of monitoring or verifying who is actually logging into the account. All they need is an email address,” said Puckett. “So, there is no way to know who you are talking to.”

Whether it’s a phone, iPad, or even a computer, parents need to educate themselves on what they are giving their kids for Christmas. Tuesday nights presentation could help them with that.

The Lauderdale County Board of Education Annex is located on County Road 61 in Florence, next to the system’s central office. The internet safety presentation begins at 7 p.m. and child care will be provided.

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