BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is seeing an uptick in kids online, due to remote learning. News 4’s Gabrielle Mediak shares some important tips to keep your child safe. 

“We’re seeing adults and children with remote learning spending a lot more time online,” said Kathy Gust, the Program Director for the National Center for Missing and Exploited children.

And with that added time, comes added risk.

“Kids thinking, I’m being honest while playing a game with someone, talking about how old I am. So the person I’m talking to must be too,” she said.  “And kids getting caught up and manipulated from that point.”

Gust has seen this scenario play out again and again.  “Where your kids are, is where someone looking to take advantage of them will be.”

She urges parents to get involved in their children’s online experience, from monitoring to communicating.

“It’s important for parents to know what their children are doing online and then to have those conversations about it,” said Gust. “If you come across something that makes you feel uncomfortable.. have a conversation about it.”

Gust says be aware of what apps your child is using, for example;  games, Snapchat and Instagram. “Maybe they meet them on a game and then they move them off to a different platform to continue the conversation,” she said. 

She says parents should use parental controls, but warns that technology can’t catch everything.  
“So we really encourage parents to have those conversations,” said Gust. 

To make those tough conversations a little easier, you can find a list of prompts on MissingKids.Org.

Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.