Benton County Sheriff’s Office Warns Parents About Dangers Of Cyber Communications

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) – A man in Washington County was arrested after police say he was receiving, and distributing, child pornography.

Authorities say 40-year-old James Miller, of Lincoln, came across the images on a popular anonymous social media application named “Kik.”

Authorities with the Benton County Sherriff’s Office say social media is often used by pedophiles.

Benton County Deputy Keisha Guyll says it is important that parents get involved in their children’s cyber communications.

“It is not about their privacy, it is about their safety,” Guyll said. “The Sheriff’s Office just encourages people to be present in their child’s cyber life. Be involved with it, just as you are in their homework, or any other of their activities.”

Guyll says apps which allow kids to communicate with strangers anonymously are the most dangerous.

“There are just all kinds of apps out there that parents need to be really careful with,” Guyll said. “Almost every website you go to, and type in ‘worst apps for kids,’ or ‘kids safety,’ Kik and Snapchat always come up.”

Apps like “Yik-Yak”, “Tinder”, and “Poof” are also ones Guyll says should raise red flags for parents.

“The parent has no way to go back and look at what is being sent [on some apps],” Guyll said. “A lot of these apps open up the potential for sexual predators.”

Guyll says, while many apps may require a user to be of a certain age to download it, there are ways for users to lie about their age.

“A 15 year old boy could be a 55 year old pedophile,” Guyll said. “Children don’t understand how much information is shared out there, and how dangerous it is.”

Guyll says it is important to discuss the dangers of these apps, saying her goal isn’t  to scare parents, but to educate them about the possible dangers at hand.

“You wouldn’t teach your child one time to look both ways when they cross the street,” Guyll said. “It is the consistency, you continuously talk to them. It is the same thing with cyber.”