Sexual Assault Awareness Month focuses on creating safe online spaces

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and this year’s theme is “We Can Build Safe Online Spaces.” The pandemic has forced many of us to spend more time online… working from home or learning virtually. It has also become a place where criminals lurk.

“Sometimes you have people in spaces where kids are,” said Angela Henderson, Sexual Assault Director, Project Celebration, Inc. “They’re playing games or on Snapchat or Instagram and they’re posing as young people and they’re adults. They’re predators.”

Henderson says those predators can groom vulnerable children and manipulate them into participating in harmful behavior.

“You have people sending not so nice, graphic information to your children,” explained Henderson. “Even though they know it’s wrong it’s intriguing and they wonder what is this.”

So how do you protect your children?

“I think parents and those in authority can pay attention to what they’re watching online. Have their passwords,” said Henderson. “I know a lot of children don’t like to share their passwords but as long as you’re paying the bill I think you’re privy to those passwords.”

And make sure those online predators don’t show up in real life.

“Pay attention. Tell them to turn their locations off. On Snapchat you can pinpoint where someone is.”

If you do experience any time of crime online, call police.

Click here to find more resources on internet safety.

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