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How do you keep children safe from Internet predators?

Simply talking to your children about online threats can leave a lasting impact.

Common Sense Media reported in 2012 that 34 percent of teens used social media multiple times a day. Now that number is 70 percent.

Jill Murphy, the editor in chief at Common Sense Media, said, "While we call a phone a phone, it's not a phone. It's a small computer, so you have to think about what your kid has access to and who has access to them."

According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, one in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log onto the Internet say they've received an unwanted sexual solicitation through the web.

Murphy said talking to your children about online predators can leave a lasting impact. 

"Helping them understand why they have boundaries, what our expectations are ... those are important conversations to have and we have to be comfortable and ready to have them," Murphy said.

Another line of defense could be changing the privacy settings within individual apps and devices, but those settings are easy to change back. 

"I don't want my kids on social media to be friends with anyone who I can't pick up the phone and call their parent and say, 'this is what's happening.' I want to know where they live or at least the general area. I'd like at the very least to know their last name," said Murphy. 

However, social media does have its advantages, and many children could benefit from the time they spend connecting with others on the Internet.

Experts told 2 On Your Side the key is knowing boundaries and being aware of the risks.


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