The recent arrest of a sex offender living in Beaumont has prompted some to ask how they can keep their children safe on social media.
Many people scroll through social media each day, often without thinking it could take a darker turn. Beaumont Police Officer Haley Morrow says this recent case directly indicates the dangers of social media.
“This is a perfect example of the dangers. This is a known sex offender who has obviously committed the crime multiple times and he was communicating with a minor, eventually picked her up and brought her to his residence where a sexual assault occurred,” said Morrow.
Morrow details the recent arrest of Jimmy King Jr., a convicted sex offender. He faces new charges involving a 15-year-old girl he’s accused of assaulting. Police say King stalked and groomed the teen, contacting the 15-year-old on social media and bringing her to his home. Neighbors reported what they called ‘suspicious activity’ to Beaumont Police.
Morrow says it’s not uncommon for people who may not have the best intentions to contact teens through social media.
“The internet is instant access for kids and predators. A lot of people over share information and it makes it easy for someone who’s up to no good to know who they are, where they are, where they work and pretty much everything about them,” said Morrow.
Additional charges are pending against King for online solicitation of a minor.
Because of situations like these, Beaumont Police partners with local schools, providing social media and cell phone safety classes to help increase the awareness of children and parents.
“When we do give these presentations parents think that it couldn’t happen to their child, that their child wouldn’t do that, but unfortunately what we are seeing is that kids are talking to people that they don’t know online, accepting friends that they don’t necessarily know,” said Morrow.
In these classes, police instruct students not to accept friend or message requests from strangers, to avoid providing identifying information and never meet up with a stranger.
Police recommend parents track their child’s location using apps like Life360 or FindMy, use parental controls to limit what apps they can download and, most importantly, talk to the child.
“It’s important that parents are going through their kids phones, having conversations and being in their business. That’s how they can prevent their children becoming a victim of any type of sex crime or being solicited on social media,” said Morrow.
Limiting access to children on a boundless internet until they’re old enough to make informed decisions.
Police arrested Jimmy King Jr. for sexual assault of a child and sexual performance by a child.