CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- It's frightening for parents thinking about the dangers of who your child could encounter online or through text messaging.
However, there are ways you can find out who they are talking to.
Alfred Johnson is a retired FBI agent who now owns an investigations and security agency. He suggests first learning the language, like what ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) means.
Johnson says parents who actually learn how to operate their child's phone and understand what is being said stand a better chance of protecting their children from predators.
"Child predators are prolific on the internet and the reason this is, is that they feel they can operate anonymously," said Johnson.
Johnson says there are a number of programs parents can use to filter online content messages and even text messages. The parent just has to be proactive and use them.
"There are services that can be purchased to lock the phone down, monitor the phone activity and send e-mails or texts to the parents if the one of the rules set in place have been violated," said Johnson.
Doug Galluccio, a detective with the Charleston Police Department, says the best thing a parent can do is own the phone being used by the child. He says if it's the phone you pay for, you have the right to go through it.
"Taking that cell phone at night and going through the text messages to see if anything looks suspicious is key," said Galluccio.
He says parents must keep up with the use of the phone or computer.
"So it's constant involvement, parents need to educate themselves and just stay involved with their children's online life," said Galluccio.
Cellphone providers have different plans that can help parents monitor or limit text message usage. It's important to contact your provider to find out which would best serve your needs.
Police also suggest having a clear set of rules when it comes to phone or online usage.
Here are some websites to help parents get started.
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