LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Tuesday is Safer Internet Day, a chance for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to speak to schools, PTA’s, and kids directly to impart a crucial message.
Lt. Allen Larsen with Metro police says the outcome can be avoidable if parents take the opportunity to speak to their children about sextortion crimes.
“You need to have this awkward conversation with your kids, cause it can prevent a whole lot of heartache down the road,” Lt. Larsen tells 8 News Now.
It’s an opportunity to help children avoid a mistake that can lead to enduring emotional pain, which is a message about the downside of sending inappropriate pictures and sextortion is one metro implores parents to communicate to their children.
“The most important thing to say, as a parent, very simple terms – don’t ever send pictures of yourself unclothed, if it’s not covered by a swimsuit – it should never be sent to anyone else,” Lt. Larsen added.
Lt. Bryan Zink with the Clark County School District Police agrees and adds another helpful tip for children to keep in mind.
“If you wouldn’t share it with your Grandmother, you probably shouldn’t share it with someone else online,” Lt. Zink said.
Parents may think the topic could get awkward, but Lt. Larsen encourages the conversation for one very important reason.
“If you don’t have that awkward conversation with your kids – statistics show there is a 1 in 6 chance that they will be victimized online,” Lt. Larsen explains.
A child’s judgment on who they can trust can also play a big factor in how a situation unfolds.
“Even if you think you can trust the person that you’re sending it to cause’ maybe it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend type situation that doesn’t prevent that person from still sharing it with friends to try and brag or whatever else and then it going viral,” he added.
Another important part of the conversation includes explaining to children that over time some relationships can sour leading to devastating outcomes.
“Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean that tomorrow they’re not gonna be mad, cause’ you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend and now they’re sharing your explicit content with others and that can really destroy children’s lives,” Lt. Larsen explains.
There is a wildfire element, the sent picture going far beyond the intended recipient, and then a child being left to deal with the aftermath.
“The devastation in their faces and ya know the tears, that I have to seem them go through, as they’re explaining what happened,” said Lt. Larsen.