New resources help protect kids from online threats

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, in conjunction with the Kentucky State Police, released new resources to help parents, caregivers and professionals keep kids safe on the internet. June is National Internet Safety Month, dedicated to increasing Americans’ understanding of cyberthreats and empowering them to be safer and more secure online.

The three new tipsheets cover internet safety, cyberbullying and gaming safety. The tipsheets are available free of charge on Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky’s website and will be distributed statewide to organizations serving families and children.

“As the nation recognizes June as National Internet Safety Month, the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crime Branch joins Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky in notifying parents about the risks involved with social media, online gaming and other internet use by distributing strategies to protect their kids from harm and exploitation,” said Lt. Mike Bowling, commander, Electronic Crime Branch Kentucky State Police. “Unfortunately, the Electronic Crime Branch has seen an 82% increase nationally (2021-2022) in the number of online enticement complaints, which is mainly due to the alarming spike in reports involving financial sextortion. KSP has received 14,491 total CyberTips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for Kentucky, compared to 4,989 in 2021. Cybercrimes are on the rise which is why KSP has developed these guidelines to help Kentucky parents keep their kids protected from those who wish to do harm to our most vulnerable population. KSP remains committed to doing everything necessary to protect our children and reduce electronic crimes. To achieve this mission, KSP calls upon all Kentuckians to contact law enforcement immediately if illegal activity is suspected or you are notified of harm to our children.”

Around 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, computer, tablet, gaming technology or other electronic device, making them a common and easily accessible tool for cyberbullying and exploitation.

Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky has been advocating for internet safety awareness and education for more than 15 years. This work includes a free online training, Electronic Crimes Against Children: How to Educate, Monitor, and Communicate Internet Safety, that provides insight into how perpetrators groom children online and what parents and caregivers can do to keep kids safe.

“Technology evolves so quickly, it is difficult for any caregiver to keep up with the latest potential threats or pitfalls facing kids online,” said PCAK Executive Director Jill Seyfred. “That’s why we work closely with the experts in the Electronic Crime Branch Kentucky State Police to ensure parents, school professionals and other caregivers know how to protect children and can effectively teach kids to protect themselves as well. We are proud to be at the forefront of this important work.”