Protect your child against cyber-sex crimes

Tampa, Florida -- Texting, Facetiming, you name it, the ways predators go after your kids now are endless. But law enforcement and school officials say there are ways to protect students and their phones.

"Now we have Facebook, tweets... that's why you need to keep it all appropriate and make sure nothing is called into question," says Stephen Hegarty with the Hillsborough County School District.

"The biggest difference from today to pre-[modern] technology is that the offenders have an easier way to communicate," Special Agent Supervisor Chuck McMullen says.

"I think it's on everyone's radar, especially with what happened in Polk County recently. What we do is give warnings and ethics training," says Hegarty.

That training is for faculty in the Hillsborough County School District. It also has an online platform that is meant for students, parents and teachers.

"We provide some appropriate avenues where communication can go on, so we discourage the other forms of communication. But as soon as you have that figured out, the technology changes," Hegarty explains.

According to the FDLE's Cyber and High Tech Crime Squad, Kik Messenger is the latest trend.

"My own kids use that, but there has been a lot of reported problems with that," said McMullen.

But experts say there's an app to safeguard against that. Parents have the ability to install applications, such as MMGuardian Parent Control and SMS Tracker on smartphones that track everything the phone does.

"The technology has changed, but the rules haven't. If you have a phone conversation that's inappropriate, or a conversation in the back of the room that is inappropriate [then] that's inappropriate. Any kind of communication, whether it's very old school or new school, same rules apply," said Hegarty.

The Polk County School District says teachers who join the district are required, among other requirements, to complete a New Employee Orientation and attend a Teacher Induction Program Seminar. During both of these instances, the topic of ethical behavior is covered.

READ: Principals of Professional Conduct and Standards

MORE: Polk County Public School's Ethics Principal and Core Values

Top 10: Bad Florida Teachers


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