More and more children are spending time online. Local officials want to keep them safe from the coronavirus pandemic, but also, Internet threats.

“I can’t stress enough to parents to make sure they’re aware of everything their kids are doing,” said Robert Maciol, the Oneida County sheriff. “I get it you want to give your kids their privacy and independence, but when it comes to Internet safety, it needs to go the other way.”

The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office released a cyber safety check list to protect the youth.

“We have a big concern when kids have open access to the Internet, especially the social media sites,” said Maciol. “Before you know it, the predators are sending inappropriate things to the children and attempting to set up meetings where they can meet them, and it’s just a very scary time.”

Maciol is encouraging parents to keep an eye on their children, but also, scams.

“When those pop-up ads come up, we want to make sure we’re educating the kids to be sure they’re not clicking on things, they’re not going on inappropriate sites, they’re not purchasing things off of sites that aren’t reliable,” said Maciol.

Maciol says parental control and defensive software could be helpful, as well as changing passwords every 90 days.

“Don’t do the traditional passwords that everyone does,” said Maciol. “You want passwords that got at least 8-10 characters that includes letters, both capital and small case, numbers and symbols.

It’s a new set of rules that children may not like, but it could save them from the many dangers that exist online.

“Something as simple as taking five minutes to sit down and discuss with your kids could not only save your computer, but could also save your child,” said Maciol.