Sheriff's office encourages parents to learn about the functions of social media apps to prevent child predators

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - Multiple child sex suspects have been booked into the Morgan County Jail within the last week.

"This has definitely been a unique week in Morgan County and North Alabama in general, as we've had several sexual predators target our young people,” said Mike Swafford, spokesperson for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said in some instances they were able to prevent predators from coming in contact with minors in the nick of time. Unfortunately, others, are suspected to have come in physical sexual contact with a child.

But people are reporting the crimes more often, which is an improvement.

“It usually starts with somebody noticing some type of unusual behavior,” Swafford added. “That's what allows us to focus in the right direction."

Many North Alabama law enforcement agencies have units designed specifically to get child predators off the streets.

The sheriff's office said recent cases in Morgan County have involved some sort of electronic device in some form or fashion. But monitoring your kid's activity on a mobile device is only one way to make sure your bases are covered.

The sheriff’s office encourages parents to educate themselves on the functions of the mobile applications they allow their children to access.

"Unless you're understanding what exactly Tik Tok is or what Snapchat can do, you're not fully staying on top of the threats that are coming at them,” Swafford added.

Parents are also encouraged to search their kid’s name on different platforms and search engines, and verify whether there are any secret accounts. There are even ways to reverse image search a child or teen's photo to make sure it isn’t being used or uploaded without your knowledge.

“They're not equipped to deal with adult issues a lot of the time,” Swafford explained. “You have to step in, you have to be there, and you have to be present to truly arm them against what's out there."

Learn to do a reverse image search here.

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