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Our View: Key takeaways from ‘Dangers in Plain Sight’

According to Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy, in an internet minute, there are 973,000 logins on Facebook, 18 million text messages sent, 4.3 million videos viewed on YouTube, 375,000 apps downloaded, 174,000 people scrolling Instagram, 481,000 tweets posted, 1.1 million swipes on Tinder, 187 million emails sent, 2.4 million snaps created on Snapchat, $862,823 spent online, 266,000 hours watched on Netflix and 3.7 million search queries on Google.

And with cellphones, that’s all at our fingertips.

In many ways, the internet opens up a world of opportunities.

It allows us to work from anywhere, keep in touch with distant relatives, conduct business with people across the globe in a matter of seconds and so much more.

But, for children and teens, the internet can also be a dangerous place.

That was the topic of discussion for the second part of the Dangers In Plain Sight series hosted by Clark County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

The program is a three-part education and awareess series for the community, mainly aimed at parents and guardians of children and teens.

The goal is to bring awareness of issues of drugs, social media, and bullying and school violence that affect youth and the community.

According to a study, 53 percent of children say they have said hurtful things to another person online; 33 percent of this children have done it more than once.

Fifty percent of teenagers say they have cyberbullies, but only 28 percent of teens say a bully has physically or vocally hurt them.

All of this happens online, which is why parents need to be aware.

Armed with a plethora of statistics about the dangers of social media, the most recent session offered an important tip to parents, reminding them to be vigilant of what their children are doing on social media and other internet platforms.

Here are some of the important take-aways of the most recent session:

— Children as young as 8 years old — some even younger — are on some form of social media. He said any application, website or social media platform with a messaging capability could pose a significant danger.

— Parents should be aware of secret apps such as an app that appears to be a calculator but is used to hide photos and other files.

— Parents should familiarize themselves with the various social media platforms (including new ones that pop up regularly) and common texting lingo.

— Cyberbullying could lead to depression, anxiety, stress disorders and suicide.

Most importantly, the various speakers encouraged parents to be engaged and informed.

For people who missed the session, the presentations are available on Channel 5 or DVD.

While some parents are concerned about offering their children some level of privacy, too much can be dangerous.

We agreed with Pastor Marvin King’s sentiments when he said, “If you are not watching what your children or family members are doing on social media, you are irresponsible.”

A little vigilance and snooping is healthy and should be expected.

It could protect your child and others.