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How to keep children safe on new devices

With the holiday season approaching, experts are suggesting parents take precautions to keep children safe on new digital devices.

BANGOR, Maine — New digital devices are popular gifts for kids during the holidays. While there's lots of great content to see online, it can also be dangerous territory.

"If you think your child is not going to encounter things like cyberbullying, sexual content, online predation, and lots of suicide and depression online think again," says parent and author Titania Jordan. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15% of high school students are cyberbullied every year. Children are also falling for internet scams. 

"It will typically look like you're going to benefit from it," says Sgt. Peter Wentworth of the Orono Police Department. "In the end it’s usually the scam artist that will end up taking more money. that happens from kids all the way up to the elderly.” 

Sgt. Wentworth suggests parents talk to their children about not giving out personal information online. 

There are an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries to children each year and a child is brought to the emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury.

Apps your children download on a new iPhone or tablet they get this Christmas can also pose a security risk.

“All of these social media apps need to be scrutinized by parents and they need to teach their kids about oversharing and good practices for staying safe and keeping their data private,” said University of Maine Professor of New Media Jon Ippolito. 

Ippolito says children can stay safe online by using fake usernames, never give out passwords, and personal location data. Also, think twice about granting apps access to contacts and your camera.  

There are ways for parents to get more guidance on how to protect their children online. There’s the Facebook group "Parenting in a Tech World." It has over thousands of parents and other members talking about keeping their children safe online in real-time.