Supreme Court ruling allows sex offenders to access social media - FOX Carolina 21

Supreme Court ruling allows sex offenders to access social media, worries NC law enforcement

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Henderson County Sheriff's Office. (6/19/17 FOX Carolina) Henderson County Sheriff's Office. (6/19/17 FOX Carolina)

Before Monday’s US Supreme Court ruling, it was illegal for sex offenders to be on websites like Facebook.

According to Major Frank Stout with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office, that law helped keep registered sex offenders out of contact with children.

"It did and we've actually charged offenders with using social media,” explained Stout. “Even using fake profiles to go on social media to be able to circumvent the law."

Monday's ruling now allows sex offenders to legally access social media sites. The court ruled the previous law impeded on the citizen's first amendment right.

Major Stout says the majority of their registered offenders comply with the laws.

"We oversee about 125 registered offenders in Henderson County,” he said.

But how do you keep your children safe from those people trying to contact your children via social media, especially when it’s not just your computer they’re using?

Jenn Mayer runs Charlotte Street Computers. She says they have people coming in the store asking how to end online relationships their children have with someone.

Major Stout urges parents to explain the dangers lurking online. One tip Mayer suggests is using web browsers that watch for specific sites.

"By having certain controls on your network. You would have the folks that setup your network to create those controls and teach you how to use them," explained Mayer. "Whether it's time limits on the internet or certain websites are blocked."

The biggest tip both Major Stout and Mayer had is to build a trusting relationship with your kids to keep the lines of communication open.

"Where you positively reinforce their honest rather than negatively reinforce that,” she said.

“Because a lot of them are still grooming or soliciting trying to pull in the Children that are so susceptible,” added Major Stout.

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