What are the dangers of electronic devices?

YAKIMA, WA - Nowadays, just about everyone has a cell phone, laptop or a tablet and that includes children. 

With that being said the special assault unit with the Yakima Police Department (YPD) says there is a huge problem with cyber predators targeting kids.

"It's shocking the number of people just here in Yakima that will target children, asking them for nude photographs, or to meet," said Detective Mike Durbin, Special Assault Unit, YPD.

Detective Durbin says parents and kids don't realize the dangers that come with having electronic devices.

"They are not thinking necessarily that, 'I'm giving my kid a tool that could put them into contact with complete strangers,' " said Durbin.

According to previous cases, Durbin says typically a cyber predator will gather personal information by pretending to be someone else and starting a relationship with a child.

"We have had cases where people travel to Yakima from out of town, from out of state to meet with them. We've had people take a Greyhound all the way from Texas to meet with a child here in Yakima, because of a relationship they cultivated online," said Durbin.

As a way to inform parents and kids of these dangers detectives hold cyber safety classes all throughout the county. Often times, Durbin says parents are shocked by what they learn.

"They always seem surprised when it happens in Yakima, and when we are dealing with these issues. I think sometimes they think, 'It wouldn't happen here. It wouldn't happen to me,' " said Durbin.

Durbin also says, during these classes detectives talk about several ways parents can make sure their children are safe. 

Schools interested in having a cyber safety class for their parents and students can reach out to YPD and put in a request.

 

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