Protecting Children Online, Alabama Digital Safety Campaign

The Internet can be fun….but it can also be dangerous
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 7:48 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -A lot of concern these days about the impact of social media and our teens using devices 24/7, the decay of inter-personal social skills, and all the different harms to kids’ mental wellness.

Parents can’t monitor their child all the time, but they can gain knowledge on these issues to better protect their children while they are using technology.

The Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, a.k.a. The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention has launched a statewide Digital Safety Prevention Campaign.

The site is full of videos and resource guides covering online interaction, online grooming, buying drugs online, online apps, gaming and promoting digital wellness. It’s all geared towards safety, awareness, and prevention.

As technology advances, new forms of crimes emerge. Never before has it been easier for perpetrators to make contact with your children, sharing images of abuse, hiding their identity and inspiring others to commit further crimes. There are many different studies that say the average age of first exposure is age 8-9, sometimes “kids as young as 4″ are being exposed while playing games on their parents’ devices.

Parents are reminded to make it a priority to be involved in your children’s lives. Be aware of who they are interacting with online through games and apps. Know how apps, games, and DMs (direct messaging) work so that you will know what to look for. Ask your child to show you and help teach you. They will most likely know more than many adults.

“As parents, guardians, allies, and educators, we must work every day to ensure young people feel safe enough to come to us if a decision they made goes sideways. Not having these conversations doesn’t protect them from the harm, it leaves them ill-equipped to know how to handle a problem when it happens,” states Barbara Fowler, Co-Founder of Fowler Davis 4 Change.

Alabama Family Central is a collaboration of state agencies and partners supporting Alabama’s families with resources, services, and more to help raise healthy, happy kids. Call Childhelp at 800-422-4453 to report abuse. For Internet Safety resources, visit Family Services of North Alabama.

The Parenting Assistance Line (PAL) provides helpful assistance to moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers, and anyone who wants to nurture a happy, healthy family. Whether you need a sympathetic ear or real resources, PAL’s specialists are there for you! Available from 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday. Call, text, or use the online chat option. Messages can be left at any time. Call. 866-962-3030.

Connect Alabama App, from the Department of Mental Health, is an important tool, offering fast and reliable service to someone looking for help. The app is available for download on iOS through the app store and for Android devices via Google play.

NAMI Alabama Crisis Line 800-273-8255.

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) – The Crisis of Youth Mental HealthWe need to listen to our young people. We need to commit to keep learning about what they are going through, and we need to invest in them. We can’t afford to lose any more young people to suicide or to allow them to suffer in silence any longer. Our young people need us — and we need them. Call NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264 M-F, 9am-9pm CST. In a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free crisis counseling.

Thorn for Parents (Be Your Kid’s Safety Net - Thorn for Parents) puts more control into parents’, and kids’, hands. They offer discussion guides for talking to kids between the ages of 7 and 17. You can sign up for text alert reminders for conversations. These provide simple ice breaker conversation starters about the most difficult topics in today’s digital world.

NetSmartz is NCMEC’s online safety education program that provides age-appropriate videos and activities to help teach children be safer online with the goal of helping children to become more aware of potential online risks and empowering them to help prevent victimization by making safer choices on- and offline.

If you are aware your child might be, or is being exploited online, call NCMEC (National Center on Missing and Exploited Children) 800-THE LOST (800-843-5678) or make a report at CyberTipline at NCMEC’s Cyber Tipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. All tips remain confidential. Available 24/7. You can also email


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