Saturday, December 5, 2020

Arrest of Sexual Assault Suspect Prompts Internet Safety Reminder for Parents and Teens

In light of the Keller Police Department’s arrest of a 44-year old Arlington man on sexual assault charges involving a minor, the Southlake Police Department would like to remind Southlake parents and students to use extra caution when using social media and sending or receiving information on the Internet.

Timothy James Burns

Timothy James Burns

The arrest of Timothy James Burns, by the Keller Police Department, followed a two-week investigation into allegations of the sexual assault of a child. Burns is charged with four second-degree felony charges involving four female high-school students in the Keller Independent School District. He is being held in lieu of a $400,000 bond — $100,000 for each charge. Keller Police are uncertain at this point whether additional victims may surface. They are asking for all area parents to talk to their teenagers to see if anyone else has had contact with Burns. If so, you may call investigators at (817) 743-4535.

How Can You Help Protect Your Children?

Parents should educate themselves on the kind of websites and computer and phone apps that can lure in unsuspecting children. They should also frequently monitor what their children are sending and receiving that could make them a target of an online predator.

It is important to note that it is not just computers and cell phones that parents need to pay close attention to. All hand-held devices, including electronic games like Nintendo and X-Box can leave children vulnerable. Predators can gain access to your child through these online games.

Southlake SRO’s are a great resource to parents, students and educators. They can help educate them about the dangers lurking on the Internet. For example: Did you know that “pop-ups” and one innocent ‘click’ can put your child at risk? The good news is that there are parental controls just like on a home computer or laptop. We encourage to you to reach out to your child’s School Resource Officer if you need information on how to talk to your child about the hidden dangers of cyber-space.

SRO’s recommend trying to keep a calm demeanor when talking to your child. The goal is to find out what information they may have inadvertently passed on, like their home address or which school they go to. You want to make them feel comfortable enough to open up to you.

It’s important to let your child know it is Ok to say, “No”; that they do not have to provide certain information just because someone asks them to. It’s important to help them know there is a difference between being police and being smart and safe.

Here is a list of things that you can do to help protect your children:

  • Check the parental controls

on electronic devices including hand-held games.

  • Check the online history or “cookies”

on all of your children’s online and electronic devices to make sure the security settings that you set have not been changed.

  • KEEP PRIVATE INFORMATION PRIVATE

Talk to your children about not posting any pictures or information on Facebook or other social media sites that can attract unwanted attention or a predator. I.e.: a T-shirt with a logo that can identify which school a student attends.

  • Learn more about the acronyms and Internet lingo children use on social websites

so that you are knowledgeable about the conversations they are having online with others.

Southlake SROs are continually working with educators in the Carroll Independent School District to help provide important safety messages such as online threats and dangers.

They are available during school hours and they are an invaluable resource to educators, students and parents.