Teens and younger children are using the Internet at an ever-increasing rate. With the increased use, comes an increase in the dangers that can arise if used incorrectly. NBC 10 spoke with child psychologist Dr. Kate Roberts about the dangers of the Internet and social media for children.
"Kids are exposed to so much today that in the previous world was censored," says Roberts. "When they're exposed to that much, it needs to come with monitoring. It needs to come with education."
Education may have helped a 13 year old Portsmouth girl avoid finding herself in an extremely dangerous situation on Wednesday when, after carrying on an electronic relationship with 27 year old Daniel Berger, she was picked up by Berger at her home and taken to New Jersey where a police affidavit says she had sex with Berger.
Berger has been arrested and faces federal charges in the case; a case that could have been avoided with some media education.
"I don't feel that children into teens have the judgment to make total decisions when it comes to the Internet," says Roberts.
Dr. Roberts tells NBC 10 that adults need to be vigilant in monitoring the use of the Internet and social media by our young people. She says that parents can put the computer in a visible part of the home and can check their children's use constantly. She says there is a fine line between child independence and monitoring children for their own safety. She also says that it is a good idea for parents to allow their children to have a cell phone. These devices can be tracked and calls and texts can be traced. The search for the Portsmouth girl may have been resolved more quickly had she a cell phone with her.
For more information on keeping children safe in this ever-evolving electronic age, Dr. Roberts recommends the website www.commonsensemedia.org.