COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Columbus mother says social media put her daughter in danger.
Fourteen-year-old Khalia White got overwhelmed earlier this month, because some minor problems at school and home had snowballed. So, she took off.
Now her mother and Sheriff Zach Scott say parents have to learn about the social media apps on their child’s phone.
Last week, we told you about the search for Khalia. The AIMS honor student had been missing for nearly four days when her mom reached out to NBC4.
Investigators said social media played a part and now Sheriff Zach Scott says it’s not just about knowing which apps are on your child’s phone, it’s also about knowing how to use them.
“‘Like, go home. Please go home. Your mom is worried about you,'” says Khalia White.
She’s reciting some of the messages that flooded her phone when she was reported missing.
Khalia had had an altercation at school and just didn’t come home. Her mom says social media helped her stay in touch with friends & stay gone.
“My first thought was she knows how to use that Instagram and Facebook and Kik and Snapchat,” says Khalia’s mom Trina White.
Trina had already deleted apps from her daughter’s phone. But Khalia and technology were inseparable.
“She’s always telling me, ‘get off the phone, get off the phone,'” says Khalia.
Franklin Co. Sheriff Zach Scott says that’s one of the biggest challenges.
“It’s tough on parents because they’ve got to stay up with technology,” he says.
Sheriff Scott says his Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force typically has at least two warrants a week and parents have to know what they’re up against.
“Have your kids teach you. That will open up the lines of communication faster than anything else,” he says.
Scott says the best way to keep your kids safe is to talk to them and to stay on top of the apps they use.
Trina says that next time, she’ll know. She and her family plastered the neighborhood and social media with posters of the missing teen and four days after Khalia left home, she returned.
For now, Khalia’s enrolled in ECOT, studying from home so mom can keep a better eye on her and her social media.
Khalia says next time she’ll talk to her mom directly and she agrees with her mom on a possible social media break.
“Because anything could be said on social media that’s not the truth,” she says.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Website is full of tools that can help you conquer the social media world.
You can check out some of the most popular apps your kids are using and you can even check out some suggested social media rules.