Law enforcement warns parents of online predators during COVID-19 pandemic

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — With one tap or swipe, your children could be talking to a predator without even knowing it. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, one in seven youth are contacted by an internet predator.

Lt. Jeremey Halsey with the Princeton Police Department said online predators are everywhere.

“Whether it’s social media or gaming that there are people out there that access these apps or games that that is their purpose to meet young kids,” Halsey said.

Halsey said parents need to have conversations with their children about online predators.

“Just tell your kids if they see anything suspicious to come and talk to you, Halsey said. “Build that relationship with you and your child where they know they can come talk to you, it’s going to be okay and better for both of you if they let you know what is going on when they are on the internet.”

Halsey said while their detectives are working hard to catch the predators, they believe ‘see something say something’ is especially true for this topic.

“We would like for more people to step forward and let us know because like I said, your child may be okay but after that, the next child may not be and it could be some child we are putting out on an Amber Alert,” Halsey said. “It’s all about preventative and I don’t want to use the word preventative, just if we can all work together then we can prevent more of this from occurring.”

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