PCMS students receive lesson on cell phone safety from local police

Published 12:31 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

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POLK COUNTY–Students at Polk County Middle School recently got a lesson on cell phone safety from local law enforcement.

Detectives Lt. Caleb Edwards and Sgt. Don Huckabee from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office spoke to 8th-grade students at PCMS about the safe use of smartphones and how to avoid scams.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, police across the nation have seen an increase in cases in which teens are coerced by online predators, or even classmates, to send explicit images of themselves.

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Detectives explained to the students that predators often try to develop friendships with teens online in an attempt to get these images, which they then threaten to reveal on the internet unless they are given money. Some online predators may even use the connection created online with teens to kidnap them and use them in the sex trade.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office says parents should explain to their children that they should never discuss sex with anyone online or share explicit images with their smartphones, and they should always monitor their teens’ online activity.

Deputies want teens and parents to know that paying money may not stop images from being leaked online, and recommend police or legal counsel be contacted first. 

“Parents and teens need to report any unlawful or suspicious activity targeting minors,” says Sheriff Tim Wright.