FOX19 Investigates: New ways child predators target kids online - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

FOX19 Investigates: New ways child predators target kids online

Greg Tankersley, LaSalle High School Greg Tankersley, LaSalle High School
Jennie Noll, Cincinnati Children's Psychologist Jennie Noll, Cincinnati Children's Psychologist
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

SnapChat. Instagram. Twitter. These days, there are lots of places where kids are sharing the ups and downs of their lives. Notice we didn't list Facebook.

"They don't do it (there) because Mom and Dad are on Facebook. It's not cool anymore," said Greg Tankersley, director of community development at La Salle High School.

The danger is that on these newer social media outlets where a teen's parent may not have an account --- or in my case not even knowing SnapChat exists until researching this story --- adolescents may reveal more about themselves, their siblings, and their friends than they would if they knew a parent was likely to see their posts. Embarrassment isn't the only danger here. An innocent picture posted to Instagram, may attract the attention of a child predator.

"And the implications of putting something out there for public consumption is not something that an adolescent understands, at least intuitively, the consequences of their actions, particularly when it comes to putting out public images or opinions or language about what they do in their daily lives," said Dr. Jennie Noll, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

She's just completed a study funded by the National Institutes of Health looking at the ways kids present themselves online and how often they agree to meet someone offline. Among her subjects were low-income teenage girls along with girls who'd been abused or neglected.

"It was shocking to me that in this survey we found that 30% of our sample had met someone offline who they first met online, whose identity was not fully confirmed," Dr. Noll said.

Abused and neglected girls were more likely to present themselves online in a sexually provocative way, too.

"We all meet people offline that we first met online. The majority of those meetings are not dangerous," said Dr. Noll. "However, most people would agree that it's one of the more dangerous things for an adolescent female to meet someone offline…because of the probability that that could end-up being a dangerous situation for her."

In a previous study, she met a girl who was raped after agreeing to go to the mall to meet a guy who'd started texting her a lot.

"And he was very charming," said Dr. Noll. "And he had (exerted) a lot of pressure for her to get in the car with him. She eventually agreed and he took her somewhere private and a victimization situation happened that was quite traumatizing to her."

So Dr. Noll advises teen girls that if they're not going to bring a parent along, at least go with a large group of friends to meet someone they only know from the internet.

She also wants to let parents know that the software you bought to protect your kids from the dark side of the internet likely isn't working. In her research, she's found that parents often don't know how to set-up the parental controls on the computer or that teens find ways around them. Instead, she urges parents to have an open, honest conversation about what they see online, what their friends are doing, and whether they'd handle the situation differently. (See the raw excerpt of our interview with Dr. Noll for more on this topic.)

Dr. Noll is also a mom. And she told FOX19 that in her household, sites like Instagram are set to private so that only her children's friends can see what they're up to.

At La Salle High School, the biggest "scandal" has been some insensitive tweets from some of the boys.

"A lot of times, it's kids just trying to be cute," Tankersley said. "We're trying to teach these young men about the ramifications of their behaviors when they're adults. Things they do today can impact them down the road."

La Salle's teachers and staff members know the internet is here to stay. They're not trying to fight it. They're just trying to ensure it has a positive impact on their students' lives.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Longview traffic advisory: Lanes closed on Loop 281

    Longview traffic advisory: Lanes closed on Loop 281

    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:11 PM EDT2018-04-22 03:11:47 GMT
    The Longview Police Department has stated that both north and southbound lanes of West Loop 281 is closed. The road is closed from Cotton to Enterprise has been closed due to an accident. Drivers are urged to use alternate routes if traveling in this area.  Motorists are currently being detoured around this location.   Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.More >>
    The Longview Police Department has stated that both north and southbound lanes of West Loop 281 is closed. The road is closed from Cotton to Enterprise has been closed due to an accident. Drivers are urged to use alternate routes if traveling in this area.  Motorists are currently being detoured around this location.   Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.More >>
  • Conference brings experts, enthusiasts in all things paranormal to Tyler

    Conference brings experts, enthusiasts in all things paranormal to Tyler

    Saturday, April 21 2018 10:02 PM EDT2018-04-22 02:02:17 GMT
    (Source: KLTV News Staff)(Source: KLTV News Staff)

    Ghost stories and haunted houses have long been a popular past time, but just how much truth is there to the legends? "As Shakespeare said there are more things in heaven and earth then are in your books,” says Big Foot Expert Jeff Hurley. “There are things we don't understand." At the April 21, Paranormal Conference, experts in the subject came together to further explore their theories. 

    More >>

    Ghost stories and haunted houses have long been a popular past time, but just how much truth is there to the legends? "As Shakespeare said there are more things in heaven and earth then are in your books,” says Big Foot Expert Jeff Hurley. “There are things we don't understand." At the April 21, Paranormal Conference, experts in the subject came together to further explore their theories. 

    More >>
  • Health workers warn about bats with rabies

    Health workers warn about bats with rabies

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:19 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:19:52 GMT
    East Texas animal control officers are warning the public to be watchful of bats that may carry rabies. Of the 17 calls this year to Longview animal control for bats, 6 bats were tested for rabies, 11 were released by the persons that were exposed to them. "Often time people that get rabies from bats, don't realize they've come in contact with one. People are the thing we can't control and that's who we have to get the message to," says Longview animal control officer Chr...More >>
    East Texas animal control officers are warning the public to be watchful of bats that may carry rabies. Of the 17 calls this year to Longview animal control for bats, 6 bats were tested for rabies, 11 were released by the persons that were exposed to them. "Often time people that get rabies from bats, don't realize they've come in contact with one. People are the thing we can't control and that's who we have to get the message to," says Longview animal control officer Chr...More >>
Powered by Frankly