Parents get advice on keeping kids safe online - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Parents get advice on keeping kids safe online

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POTOMAC, Md. -

Parents in Potomac got some advice Thursday from a renowned author and psychologist on how to keep their kids safe online.

The Parent Encouragement Program brought in Dr. Lawrence Cohen to talk about teen and tween anxiety -- everything from academic pressure to social anxiety.

A big part of that is their online image and the pressure to fit in, which often entices even good kids to do bad things online.

Websites like Ask.fm are growing in popularity. The Latvian-based site has been linked to nine teen suicides in the last year.

Cyberbullies are trolling online to anonymously torment other teens because no one is checking the content.

Dr. Cohen says, "that anonymity gives the illusion that nothing bad is really happening. It's just a game."

Cohen says the latest research shows the human conscience isn't fully developed until the age of 25. So parents need to vigorously monitor their kids’ online activity.

"I think they have to start early. Just having it be absolutely normal that the parents are involved," Cohen says.

Robyn Des Roches says her 11-year-old son already knows that his online activities are an open book.

"We have certain limits. You can't go on during the week. During the weekend, you can. We have the computer where we can see it, and we just try to talk with him about what he's doing," Des Roches says.

So even though most adults have not heard about Ask.fm, kids are signing up in record numbers. The founder says they are adding 200,000 new users every day --half of them are under the age of 18.


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