By Annette Christie
Coloma Township Police Activity
A Coloma Township police officer responded to Becht Road and Riverview Drive for a single vehicle traffic crash on March 26, 2017 at approximately 2:12 a.m. While investigating the crash the officer determined that the driver, a 32-year-old Covert Township man had a suspended operator’s license. The suspect was issued a misdemeanor appearance citation for driving while license was suspended and he was released.
Michigan State Police remind parents to know what their children are doing on the Internet
Because internet use is a daily part of most of our lives, the Michigan State Police Cyber Command Center (MC3) is reminding Michiganders to be safe and smart when using social networking applications (apps).
By design, social networking apps allow users to communicate and share information. They can be accessed using a variety of devices and are often free of charge. Some examples are Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Kik Messenger. Using social networking apps can be positive. However, there are dangers. Unintended use of these apps has resulted in children finding themselves in unsafe situations.
Kik, for instance, allows users to chat anonymously and does not validate user information. This is designed to protect privacy but it also means that users don’t truly know who they are talking to. Predators have utilized this app to convince teenagers to do things which resulted in exploitation or harm.
In a recent Michigan incident, a teenager traveled to another state to meet with someone she befriended on this app without telling her parents. She was found unharmed, however, this has not always been the case. Kik is only one of the hundreds of free social networking apps available to kids and teens. The prevalence and impact of these apps is too great to ignore.
To help understand what kids are saying when they are talking to others, some acronyms include:
PAW or PRW: Parents are watching; PIR: Parents in room; POS: Parent over shoulder; P911: Parent emergency; (L) MIRL: (Lets) meet in real life; 9: Parent watching; 99: Parent gone
Parents should talk with their kids and don’t sugar coat reality. Share news stories with them, even if they include uncomfortable details. Talk with children about sexual victimization and potential online dangers. Spend time with their kids online and have them teach you about their favorite apps, networks, and web sites.
Parents should monitor their child’s phone. Laptops and computers should be kept in common rooms of the home and parents should consider making their child’s room and bathroom technology free zones. Parental controls should be utilized and parents should randomly check their child’s online accounts. Parents should teach their children responsible online activities and approve their apps.
There are many resources available to parents to assist in keeping their children safe online. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website at http://www.missingkids.org.
Information regarding possible child sexual exploitation can be reported to this website as well at http://missingkids.org/cybertipline.