Social networking site reaches out to children

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "Togetherville" is a new site from social networking site Facebook links parents to their children on-line.  While it may be a great way for some families to communicate on-line, parents we spoke with say it sounds dangerous to them!

"I would prefer my children not be on the Internet unsupervised at all," said parent Deana Osment.

I don't think a lot of parents realize the danger of it," said Detective Ernest Ward of the Jonesboro Police Department.

The Internet is constantly changing.  In the last five years social networking sites seem to have taken over our lives!  New site "Togetherville" is for children from six to ten years old.

"I don't feel like they need to be on a social network site at that young age, at five and eight-years-old," said Osment.

Deana Osment's children do have limited access to the computer and to the Internet but only when she is with them.

"As a parent it's my job to protect my children and I don't think having that exposure to technology at that young of an age is appropriate," said Osment.

In turn, Osment believes she can protect her children from another kind of exposure and away from predators searching for young children.

"These kind of people spend all day every day figuring out how to get to your children and how to get to you," said Osment.

"What is going to prevent an adult from being on there who is pedophile who is looking for children," said Ward.

Jonesboro Police Department Detective Ernest Ward said a major part of his job is investigating crimes against children on the Internet.

"The website is not supposed to divulge any of the information about the children but what I'm saying is what is going to prevent an adult from going online and posing as a child," said Ward.

Ward said sites like these aren't good for children.

"I don't think there's a six-year-old, I don't think there's a ten year old who should be on a social networking site," said Ward.

If your child does join a social networking site, Ward said you should know where your child is going online and be on your child's friend list.  He said you should also have your child's password and user name for the site so you know and see what your child is posting and saying on-line.

"Find one that Internet predators don't use to target our children.  Show me one because there's not one," said Ward.

Ward said all sites aren't bad, it is the way some use them that can make them dangerous.

This site does require a parent to sign the child up, the parent has to put in their e-mail address and approve for their child to use it.  Parents also approve who their children are friends with on the site.

Togetherville also is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule.

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