Ohio (Finally) Bans Sex Offenders From Working With Children – In Ohio, there was a loophole that allowed sex offenders to work or open businesses catering to children. As of this year, Ohio lawmakers took action to close a loophole allowing this to happen statewide. Learn about the details of the law taking effect soon right here on Newsymom!
A few years ago, 21 News broke the story about concerned parents in Columbiana that didn’t want a violent child sex offender opening a snack shop in Columbiana. (Amended Senate Bill 16 closes Ohio sex offender loophole, WFMJ.com) This 21 News story actually exposed the gaping loophole allowing sex offenders to work or open businesses that cater to children, such as snack shops, toy stores, or youth gyms! (Places where kids tend to hang out.)
Closing the Loophole with Amended Senate Bill 16
After lots of work from Ohio lawmakers, Gov. Mike DeWine signed the amended Senate Bill 16 on Thursday. This closed these loopholes that previously allowed Tier 2 and 3 sex offenders from ”working or volunteering in a space that affords them extensive contact with kids”. Criminal penalties tied to the law include felonies and misdemeanors, if violated.
The bill was amended to protect those most vulnerable from child sex offenders and sexual predators. The new language amended to the bill will begin starting in April.
Sexual Predators Use the Ultimate Tool to Lure: Social Media
In the meantime, it’s a good idea to check in on your kids’ social media habits, since social media platforms are a HUGE tool predators use. (Snapchat seems to be the favorite for most predators online…) Make sure to do the following if you allow your children on social:
Adjust their search settings – You can limit what websites your children are allowed to visit on most devices! Turn on SafeSearch. Adjust their security settings so you don’t allow anyone to view their profile who isn’t a friend.
Limit screen time – Minimize how much time your children spend on social media, encouraging them to make friends within their school, community, and local organizations.
Educate your children on red flags when online – Red flags could include: talking “dirty”, receiving unsolicited provocative photos, asking for explicit pictures or videos of themselves, sharing their location or any identifying information with someone they don’t know, or asking to meet in person (especially without your knowledge).
Teach your children about consent – Have regular conversations about what your children should do if someone touches them against their wishes (and practice what you preach)! Make sure they know to notify you or another trusted adult (grandma, teacher, etc.) immediately.
Convicted sex offenders aren’t allowed to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you come into contact with one, or know of one with an account, check out the steps to reporting them here: How Can I Report a Sex Offender on Facebook?
Keep following Newsymom on Facebook (@newsymom) for tips to keep your kiddos safe while online!