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Technology Safety expert visits Owatonna Middle School, talks online crimes and predators

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OWATONNA, Minn. (FOX 47) -

There's no doubt teenagers are active on social media and the internet.

But browsing the web could lead to some dangerous situations, putting teens at risk of encountering online predators or becoming victims of online crimes.

Detective Rich Wistocki, of Naperville, Illinois,  talked with 8th graders Thursday afternoon about how not to be victims of online crime.

"This is where they're starting their voyage, if you would, in social network and social media. And this is how they communicate, this is their reputation. And if no one if giving them technology talks on what's appropriate and what's not, somebody else will be," said Wistocki.

And that someone is Detective Richard Wistocki. He worked for 30 years in the High Technology Crimes Unit at Naperville PD in Illinois.

Now a retired police officer, he owns a consulting company called BeSure Consulting, and travels around the country to empower kids to not be victims of online crime. His travels brought him to Owatonna Middle School, where the gym's bleachers were overflowing with 8th graders.

Wistocki asked how many of them had social media accounts like Snapchat and Instagram, and a lot of them raised their hands.

He said one of the main red flags to look out for is sextortion.

"So in sextortion what happens is that they will be sent a message 'You owe me one pic' after they received an inappropriate image. Then that image is then, they want somebody else to tell them what they want. And they say 'You owe me one pic,'" he said. "So I show the kids that, and a lot of them have seen that."

He spoke with them about talking to their parents should they run into problems online, and not feel the need to handle it themselves.

He also planned to talk with parents about their children's technology.

"I show them that they have to not threaten their kids into compliance, where they have to have technology talks with their kids," said Wistocki.

Wistocki then met with parents in Steele County for a free presentation at Trinity Lutheran Church.

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