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Arrest of Groton sailor raises concerns about social media safety

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Over the past four years state police have put on 350 seminars across the state on internet security and social media awareness. And now, what reportedly happened in Groton will be part of that program.

State police say Navy sailor Chazzman Chung brought a Griswold juvenile to his Groton barracks to have sexual contact with him. Police say they met on the dating app Grindr which is meant for people over 18. 

“Unfortunately we have seen kids across the state of Connecticut in all areas who have been downloading them and using them as hook up apps,” said CT State Trooper Kate Cummings.

She is stationed out of the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden.

Related: Police: Sailor at Groton sub base sexually assaulted child in barracks room

“We do offer student presentations during the day where we’ll meet in the school and talk to students,” Trooper Cummings told News8.
    
But she’ll also meet with parents around the state and is using the Groton arrest as a teaching tool when talking about popular dating apps.

“It’s Bumble, Tinder, and Grindr,” said Trooper Cummings.

She suggests parents take a three part approach to keep their kids safe starting with communication. Ask your kids who they follow on line and then follow the same people.

“That can get really good insight to parents the type of content that kids are exposed to,” said Trooper Cummings.

Second is research. Download the same apps as your kids and understand how they work. Finally is control.

“Especially for our younger kids parents should have the usernames and passwords to all the accounts they’re logged into and they should be checking those cell phones periodically,” said Trooper Cummings.

Related: New warning about social media after report finds millions of fake accounts

And beware, some predators create fake accounts on apps meant for kids and there are dummy apps kids use to hide other apps they don’t want their parents to know about.

“If you see multiple calculators that’s going to be a red flag that one of those may not actually be the real calculator app,” warned Trooper Cummings.

State police will be putting on seven more seminars starting next week in Ellington, Westport, and North Windham

Trooper Cummings also suggests the website commonsensemedia.org for parents who want to learn more about social media apps and how to keep their kids safe.

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