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Tips offered to protect Montana kids from cyber criminals - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Tips offered to protect Montana kids from cyber criminals

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Aaron Matthew Manning is charged with rape involving a teenager he met using KIK. (MTN News photo) Aaron Matthew Manning is charged with rape involving a teenager he met using KIK. (MTN News photo)
BOZEMAN -

"It's a tough time to be a parent, no doubt," says Bozeman Police Internet Crimes Detective Scot McCormick.

McCormick explained that 26-year-old Aaron Manning - who was arrested last weekend - used an app called Kik to meet his 12-year-old victim.

Manning is now charged with sexual intercourse without consent.

"You can send texts, you can send photos, you can send videos, you can get on there and put in your location and meet locals," McCormick said of KIK.

Kik is also to be investigated after police say two Virginia Tech students used the app to meet and then kill a 13-year-old girl.

In Montana cases like these are not the norm, but McCormick said "we have a ton of internet crimes, whether its cyber-bullying, sexting."

And it is not just Kik. Kids are using everything from Snapchat to Facebook. To protect your children, McCormick says the first thing parents should do is open a dialogue.  

"Your kids need to know that they can come to you if they see something inappropriate or somebody sends them a message that is inappropriate. If they have friends that are being cyber-bullied or have friends that are talking to somebody that's older."

After you've talked to your kids about their online use, McCormick says you need to monitor what they do on their phones and on the home computer

"Get online, look at what they're looking at and see what they're searching, get on their social media site."

McCormick also suggests limiting your child's online time, especially at night as many of their investigations uncovered online contact that happened between 9 p.m. to midnight on school nights.

"You have to set ground rules. This is what you can do online and this is what you can't. Don't ever go and meet somebody that you don't know. Don't ever share info, don't ever tell a stranger our address, phone number or passwords."

 McCormick will soon be giving two Internet safety presentations for parents throughout the Bozeman School District.

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