Local News

Expert: Parents must educate themselves about the internet to keep kids safe online

Posted November 27, 2017 10:34 p.m. EST

— A 15-year-old girl ran away with a Raleigh man she met online after her parents tried to put a stop to the pair’s Facebook conversations by taking away their daughter’s phone, according to court documents.

Warrants show 41-year-old Tajmalik Hinton traveled to the girl’s home in Shelby and brought her back to his home in Raleigh.

The 15-year-old said she told Hinton that she was 18 years old and the two had consensual sex, according to a warrant.

Hinton is charged with statutory rape of a child.

The internet can be a frightening reality for parents, which is why so many took the opportunity to listen to Janell Burley Hofmann during a visit to Raleigh.

Hofmann wrote the book on how to manage kids online, including how to balance technology and the real world and healthy behaviors around technology.

Monitoring the websites your child visits, limiting screen time and warning them of danger are all important, but Hofmann said parents also need to educate themselves “by being thoughtful and getting to know the technology ourselves as adults.”

Hofmann said when a child has questions, the parent needs to make sure they are the one the child turns to.

“[Be someone] that they can talk to and go to if they feel confused or overwhelmed or if they want to report a problem so that no child ever feels alone when they go on the internet,” she said.

Hofmann said it’s also important to remember that, when used properly and in moderation, there is a lot of good that can come from the internet, including educational opportunities and opportunities to explore a child’s interest.

Hoffmann said parents need to transfer the values they have in their home to interactions on the web.