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Chesterfield Schools to hold forum on social media and internet safety

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Chesterfield County Council of PTA is reaching out to parents, to make sure they know how much trouble their children can get into on the internet and how it could impact their future.

Sometimes what students put on the internet, especially social media can come back to haunt them.

We've heard stories of scholarships taken, missed job opportunities, and even dangerous situations after meeting or talking to someone online.

The CCCPTA is holding an internet safety forum Monday night to make kids and parents aware of the potential online dangers.

Headlines like, “Online predator lures child… poses as kid on internet,” keep parents up at night and on edge.

Midlothian mom Kelly Cox says keeping up with online activity for three kids can be daunting, but it's something that has to be done.

“Privacy to me doesn't exist if you're a kid,” said Cox. “We as parents can grab a phone, check computers... No such thing as privacy... That's our job.”

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Cox is grateful to know Chesterfield schools, police and the CCCPTA have teamed up to keep parents in the loop about online safety.

“You trust them so much, but you don't necessarily trust who they're going to run into on the internet,” said Cox.

During a forum Monday night, Sgt. Debbie Matson will update parents on the latest trends and red flags to look for.

“Apps that appear to be one thing, but it's actually another... There's a calculator app, that when you put in a code and it opens up a bunch of secret pictures," said Sgt. Matson. "A lot of apps like that that aren't what they appear to be. Children can hide information and activity on their devices.”

She says it's critical to educate parents and kids about dangers that exist.

Sgt. Matson recommends checking your child’s computer history and reviewing the sites they go to.

“There's software to track and make sure what they're doing is age appropriate, nothing dangerous," she added.

The internet safety forum will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Tech Center at the old Clover Hill High School, located at 13900 Hull Street Road.

If you would like more information on the meeting, click here.