Several parents attended GCMS's Parent Involvement Days to spend the days with their children and see what happens during the school day.Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Several parents attended GCMS's Parent Involvement Days to spend the days with their children and see what happens during the school day.

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Several parents participated in Grayson County Middle School's parent involvement days. Parents were invited to spend the day with their children, going to classes and eating lunch.

During Grayson County Middle School's parent involvement days, Sheriff Norman Chaffins showed parents the dangers of the internet and how to keep their children safe from predators.

Not only do children have access to the internet at home, according to Chaffins, schools use more technology, which is a good thing, but it also allows predators to have more access to the children.

He showed parents a video created by Kentucky State Police (KSP) about the dangers of online predators that children can face.

According to the video, "The majority of victims of internet initiated sex crimes were between 13 and 15 years old."

One very dangerous place for children is on chat rooms. According to KSP, only 18 percent of children use chat rooms, but a big majority of sex crimes are initiated in chat rooms.

KSP said, "The biggest disadvantage of technology is the capability of sexual predators to make contact with our youth and the trust that our youth have that everything is

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going to be safe as long as they're on the internet in their own house, but the reality is that it can be so much more dangerous because they just do not realize the danger of who they're talking to and that person can find them at the touch of a finger."

According to KSP, online predators form a relationship with the child as someone the child can rely on. The child will tell the predator everything because they think it's a friend they are talking to. The child will rely on the predator for everything, once he or she thinks that the person they are talking to is trying to help them.

According to Chaffins, "Any given moment there are over 500,000 online predators. They are patient. They will wait however long it takes to get the child to trust them."

Children do not understand the importance of internet safety, according to Chaffins. He said the best way to keep kids safe on the internet is for parents to "be in their kid's stuff."

Chaffins said parents should know what their kids are doing, who their friends are and where they are at all times. He said parents should set ground rules for the internet for their children and communicate with them about the dangers.

"Be involved in what your kids are doing online," said Chaffins.

According to Sheriff Chaffins, even though Grayson County is small, there are child predators here. He said as the internet gets better, the predators get better.

He also stressed the importance of talking to kids about internet safety and the dangers involved in using the internet. He said there is no way we as parents can keep track of our children's internet usage everywhere they go because everywhere we turn there is a way to get on the internet with all kinds of devices.

According to Chaffins, the computer will keep track of everything you do on the internet. He said this is how Facebook knows what you were searching for on Walmart.com and places ads for those products.

He said, "If companies can do it, predators can do it."

Sheriff Chaffins said, "Teens don't care what they post on social media and don't recognize the consequences."

He also said they don't realize once something gets put on the internet, they can't take it back.

He said we didn't start out with giving kids rules and parameters because we didn't know to.

"Now we're not prepared for online predators," Chaffins said.

Parents need to prepare themselves and their children for the dangers lurking behind the screen. Chaffins gave parents the following tips from KSP on how to accomplish this:

*Communicate early and continue as your children grow.

*Ask your child questions about their profile and friends list.

*Communicate the concept "you are who your friends are."

*Provide examples of why one would want to keep information private.

*Friend your child on social media.

*Communicate ways children are manipulated online.

*Give real-life examples of consequences.

*Know usernames and passwords.

*Model appropriate behavior.

*Check computer history often.

*Place restrictions on user accounts.

Chaffins also gave examples of parental control software that can help parents keep their children safe:

*SecureTeen - can receive call logs and read text messages.

*TeenSafe - can pinpoint exact GPS location at any time and can block text messaging while driving.

*Life 360 - family locater, messaging tool and communication app for Android phones.

Several parents attended GCMS's Parent Involvement Days to spend the days with their children and see what happens during the school day.

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Parents had the opportunity to eat with their children at GCMS.

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Sheriff Norman Chaffins discussed cyber safety with parents at the Grayson Count MIddle School's parent involvement Day.

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Parents had the opportunity to eat with their children at GCMS.

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Parents had the opportunity to eat with their children at GCMS.