KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Lenexa Police Department hosted a digital safety workshop Tuesday at Lenexa Baptist Church for parents and their kids.
The department has been addressing digital crime, particularly as it pertains to young victims.
"We've had we have several cases, sometimes several cases a week, just in Lenexa. The KC metro, I'm sure it's more prevalent, but I think, what's an alarming rate for a city like Lenexa," crime analyst Lindsey Calvillo with LPD said.
One trend stands out in particular.
"We see a lot of kids younger than you might think, who are downloading or accessing pornography in one way or another, whether they're downloading it from an internet website onto a school device, or a phone or tablet," Calvillo says.
To help put parents on alert to these and other digital dangers, LPD hosted a class with eager students.
"I just really want to learn more about how to make sure we’re being safe on the internet and setting him up for success," Karen Padilla, a local mother of an 11-year old, said. "I hope to gain a lot from it actually, there’s so much out there and technology is changing and adapting so quickly."
Learning how to navigate the digital world on the fly is a current day parenting challenge.
"When technology started when I was younger, it wasn’t really something I thought about all that much, but even since my kids have been little, I definitely have thought a lot about how to help them make wise choices," mother Elizabeth Chang said.
Part of tonight’s class included data pulled from billions of messages and apps, which shows kids are often having unhealthy conversations about topics including suicide, depression, violence and underage alcohol and drug use.
While this data is concerting for parents, LPD says they don’t want Tuesday's class to be a scare tactic or a judgment zone. They say they want to equip families with the right tools for a safer home and safer community for all.
"I have my own six year old and the more and more people that are aware of, the more parents who are taking care of this in their own homes. that makes my child safer," Calvillo said.
The department says more classes are planned for future dates in 2022.