Today’s online landscape is treacherous for children and teenagers. The responsibility of safeguarding them from the myriad of online dangers is paramount and evolves every day. From the insidious threats of sextortion, the often silent yet violent actions of cyberbullying, to the shocking number of predators who extort explicit content from children, the exposure and vulnerability our children and teenagers face while online is very real.

The statistics paint the stark and horrifying reality – one that demands our immediate attention and action. For this reason, SMART CHATS was created. A dynamic and expertly crafted collection of guides, statistics and more to support the residents of New Mexico.

As parents, guardians, or educators of New Mexico’s youth, the New Mexico Department of Justice recognizes and understands the immediate need to equip parents, guardians, and teachers with the knowledge, tools, and guides necessary to protect every child from these pervasive dangers. 

Statistics and Experiences - The Reality of Online Dangers

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Privacy Guides for Social Media and Gaming Platforms

The NMDOJ offers a series of social media privacy how-to guides, including video game consoles, which have been crafted to provide you with the steps to help protect your child or children online.

Comprehensive Internet Safety Guides

Our Internet Safety Guides equip parents, guardians and educators with tools to help children understand the dangers of sharing information on the internet.

Cyberbullying has emerged as a serious issue that can have devastating effects on children, families, and communities. Parents, guardians, and teachers must be alert and knowledgeable about this growing threat, and more importantly, how to protect their children and students. This guide provides practical tips on how to educate children about cyberbullying and create a safe space for them if they ever become victims.

Sextortion is a severe form of criminal activity, referred to as cybercrime, that has seen an alarming rise in recent years. It is a malicious practice or type of blackmail that involves the use of manipulation, coercion, and threats to obtain sexual favors or explicit content from the victim. Predominantly thriving on online platforms, sextortion is an evolving menace that has a profound impact on its young victims, particularly children and teenagers.  In New Mexico, sextortion has emerged as a significant concern. The state’s children and teenagers, who are increasingly engaging with digital platforms for communication, education, and entertainment, are easy targets for cybercriminals.  

Removing Explicit Content

Initiating Conversations on Internet Safety

Starting a dialogue with children about building a healthy relationship with the internet is important in our technology-driven society. The steps below can help parents, guardians, and teachers start this important conversation.

  • Choose the right time: Find a relaxed, quiet time to talk when you won’t be interrupted. This could be after a meal, during a car ride, after school or before bedtime.
  • Begin with positives: Start the conversation by discussing positive aspects of the internet, such as learning tools, staying connected with friends and family, and creative opportunities.
  • Introduce balance: Explain that balance is key when using the internet. Discuss the importance of balancing online and offline activities.
  • Cover potential risks: Talk about the potential and very-real dangers of excessive internet use, including cyberbullying, privacy issues, and the risk of encountering inappropriate content.
  • Establish boundaries together: Work together with your child to set rules for internet use. This can include limiting screen time, choosing appropriate websites and apps, and deciding when and where devices can be used.
  • Encourage open and safe communication: Remind them that they can come to you with any concerns or questions about their online experiences – both good and bad.
  • Revisit the conversation regularly: The impact of internet usage evolves as a child gets older. Revisiting this conversation regularly helps to keep up with their changing needs and experiences.

Download a printable version of the steps above.

Share Your Social Media Experiences With Us

The New Mexico Department of Justice is investigating social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, for harming children and misleading the public about the safety of these platforms.   

The NMDOJ wants to learn more from New Mexicans who have experienced the harmful effects of social media. This may include bullying, harassment, and exposure to inappropriate content or accounts.   

While the NMDOJ continues its investigation, parents who believe their children are victims of a crime should contact their local police department.   

You are not required to share your name or contact information with us. 

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Protecting Children Online