Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  June is National Internet Safety Month, a good time for parents to review their children’s online usage.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce says a good place to start is at the seemingly innocuous website, Facebook.

On her Twitter page this week, Joyce tweeted “Troubling stat: est. 5 mill kids <10 use FB”.

Again, that’s five million children under the age of 10 who regularly read or post content on Facebook.

“There’s a large amount of kids that are sharing private information on Facebook,” Joyce tels KMOX News. “Information that could lead the wrong person to figuring out where the child lives and possibly arranging to meet with the child.”

Joyce adds that many parents may overlook the possible dangers because their child is only chatting with “friends”, citing a Consumer Reports showing that forty percent of users surveyed had posted their full birth date, exposing them to identity theft.

Twenty-six percent of Facebook users with children had potentially exposed them to predators by posting the children’s photos and names.

And in one of four households with a Facebook account, users weren’t aware of or didn’t choose to use the service’s privacy controls.

“We’re trying to get the word out to make sure that parents are aware that the time their children spend on the internet is possibly something that’s a risk to the children,” Joyce says. “I definitely think that there are a lot of parents out there that don’t perceive the risk that’s involved in some of these social media sites.”

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