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Parents learn skills to protect kids online

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Posted at 11:24 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 23:24:57-05
Protecting kids from the dangers of the internet isn't easy when their communication on it can so easily get out of control.
 
"What apps are appropriate? What isn't appropriate? What are the limits you're setting? What parental controls are you putting on," Drew Fidler, Policy and Program Development Manager and Forensic Interviewer at Baltimore Child Abuse Center, said. 
 
Those are just some of the questions Fidler addressed Friday night in the first of a three part series about technology and technology safety for tweens and their parents. 
 
The program was a year and a half in the making in collaboration with Wee Chic, a children's clothing store in Green Spring Station. 
 
It seems there is a never ending cycle of similar stories. Stories like the Prince Georges County teachers aid allegedly caught making child pornography on school property or Nicole Lovell's murder.
 
Investigators believe the Virginia teen began a relationship with her killer online.
 
"To me that's just terrifying that something like that happened and like I said, I don't want to be that parent that is shocked that my parent is communicating with someone that is so much older than them. Or even with some of the games that my kids play, I think they are interacting with people they don't know," Robyn Parks, a mother of three children, told ABC2. 
 
For Parks, the goal is to arm herself with the information and skills necessary to protect her kids.
 
They all have devices with internet access. That means there is access to sites and apps she and other parents aren't sure how to use or might not even know about. 
 
"We all grew up being told don't talk to strangers and we can teach our children that because we learned it but we didn't learn to navigate this world as children so it's very hard to understand.  The technology comes out so much faster than you can stay ahead of it,"  Bridget Quinn Stickline, President of Wee Chic, said. 
 
Fidler addressed privacy settings, communication with children, learning about the different apps at their fingertips, along with location. 
 
"Be aware of certain apps: Whisper, Yik Yak, Snap Chat. Are your kids using this? Start to understand what those apps do and whether or not you think that's appropriate for your kid and location matters. Where the phones are and when you're accessing it. Does your kid need that phone or that computer in their bedroom when they're going to bed at night," Fidler asked.
 
The Friday night session was just for the parents. The second session is for kids on February 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. The third session is on Friday, March 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. for both parents and tweens. 
 
There is still room available for session three. Click the link to find out how to sign up. 

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