Lee County Sheriff urges parents to be vigilant about ‘digital dangers’

Presentation is meant to keep teens and adults out of harm's way when navigating social media sites

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson is encouraging parents to be aware of their children’s activities online and on social media.

On a recent Sunday night, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson talked not only about the dangers of online predators but also about the consequences of sending inappropriate material between friends.

“A lot of things going on with kids are kids who go to school together, church together and they don’t think about things they’re sending, photos they’re sending, they don’t see anything wrong with it.  That’s where parents have to be involved in their kids’ lives and know right is right and wrong is wrong,” Johnson said.

The presentation included examples of TikTok challenges that have claimed the lives of young people. The sheriff also recounted an undercover operation that resulted in the arrests of 37 men who made arrangements to meet minors they met online.

Trey and Courtney Wilemon said, as parents, it’s all about accountability and transparency.

“Really, it was a challenge for me, as the leader in the house, the father, to be more active, to go grab that phone, and look at it, and even for us as spouses, I don’t hide anything from my wife, she doesn’t hide anything from me and our kids shouldn’t hide anything from us,” said Trey Wilemon.

And although Mac Wilemon earns money to pay for his phone, he understands and appreciates his parent’s oversight and firm ground rules about social media usage.

“My parents have a lot of trust with me. I have a few forms of social media, but I don’t engage with people who I don’t know or who I have never met,” Mac Wilemon said.

The sheriff encouraged parents and kids to report any suspicious online encounters or activity to local authorities.

Johnson has given the “Digital Dangers” seminar to churches and civic groups across the area.

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