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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Online classes this fall could mean more online dangers for young students

Special Victims Unit detective speaks about the dangers online for kids.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — With virtual learning an option this fall children will spend even more time online. With that comes the danger of online predators.

A detective says personal information is the first thing predators will try to get from your children.

"They should be looking for things like if someone is asking their child about personal information such as age, address," said Shelby County Sheriff's Office Special Victims Unit Detective Kristan Holst.

Holst says parents should be having conversations early with their children about online predators. With the school year approaching more adults with ill intentions will be lurking on the web.

“Kids are going back to school and they know that there will be more children online probably than ever before for this school year and that they're going to be deliberately seeking out information to lure them in," said Holst.

To lure them in Holst says predators will try to build a personal relationship and asking children to send photos or questioning them about their personal life.

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Titania Jordan is the Chief Parent Officer with Bark App, a tool that notifies parents to red flags such as cyber bullying and adult content.

"Bark technologies and the algorithm is combing and looking for digital dangers through e-mail, text message, social media, across browsers, across devices,” said Jordan.

Jordan tells me the number of online predators is up this year.

“Since we went into lockdown as a country around March 13, we saw a 23% increase in the alerts we sent around online predation."

So never assume your child is safe. It's better to be prepared.

"It's really unfortunate how many parents don't realize that it actually is happening to their child and it can happen to their child,” said Jordan. “Good kids make bad choices because their frontal lobes aren't fully formed."

Shelby County Schools currently has a content filter on laptops protecting children from harmful sites. The district is planning to deliver laptops to students starting in August.