Social media posts raise concerns

Sheriff’s office investigating

Parents and a number of teen-age girls in Marshall County are using social media as a way to focus their claims of inappropriate behavior against a man they argue has been harassing them, also through social media.

Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman said Friday that his office has been made aware these posts regarding a young adult male (in his early 20s) reportedly engaging in social media contact with early-teen females.

“The behavior has been described as harassing, inappropriate and perhaps predatory,” Hoffman said, noting his office is investigating these concerns. “While local law enforcement agencies review provided content for potential violations of the law, we encourage anyone that discovers information indicating that a child has been enticed or solicited for sexual activity to contact the communications center at (641) 754-5725.”

While these accusations are still being investigated, Hoffman said now may be an appropriate time for all parents and guardians to talk to their children about social media dangers.

“We encourage parents to communicate with their children and maintain an environment where the children feel safe talking about personal issues and that parents also discuss potential dangers involved with social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others,” he said. “While balancing teen privacy with their growing independence and responsibility, we further encourage parents to be connected to their child’s accounts and be aware that the child may be able to filter certain content from their view, which is why we recommend that parents also know any device or account passwords and check electronic devices periodically, particularly if suspicious behavior is involved.”