Fort Middle School addresses social media dangers - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Middle School addresses social media dangers

Parents at Friday night's forum Parents at Friday night's forum
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A local middle school in the Fountain City is doing what they can to protect students from becoming victim of crimes such as sex trafficking by alerting parents to the dangers of social media sites and apps. 

Parents and educators were able to get some advice from law enforcement that could prevent sexual predators from preying on students through social media. 

Fifty-nine percent of children are visiting unsafe sites on their cellphones and computers, which is why Fort Middle School in Columbus set up a forum Friday about social media and their dangerous consequences.

"In dealing with the parents and the students here I found that a lot of parents are just not aware of the mobile sites the students are utilizing. An icon may look like a game and they are assuming the child is playing the game but they are actually communicating with people in the game," said Dr. Sarah Beecham-Powell, Parent Liaison. 

Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick of the Columbus Police Department informed parents about sites such as Tinder, Snapchat and even Instagram. These are mobile sites she says parents need to monitor.

"As a mom I want to protect her and I want to protect my family," said Mary Peralez, parent of sixth grader at Fort Middle School. 
 
Peralez keeps a close eye on what her daughter is doing on social media. 

"I have full control of her passwords. I change the passwords frequently and every night she goes to bed I get on her account," said Peralez 

Some sites can track GPS locations and requires no registration to use, making it easy for those preying on minors to contact them which could possibly lead to sex trafficking.

Facebook after Dark is one of those dangerous sites with sexual predators. Peralez doesn't want to take any chances of her daughter being caught off guard. 
 
"She has deleted Kick, we possibly will be deleting Facebook. I just want her to get out of these sites and focus on her school work," said Peralez. 

School computers in the district blocks social media sites, but it's still important to check your child's cell phone for any suspicious apps. 

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