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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker lauds campaign spotlighting social media dangers for minors

By The Star Staff

Rep. José Aponte Hernández thanked Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Thursday for the development and implementation of an aggressive media orientation campaign for parents and/or guardians on the use of social media platforms by minors.

“The fact that minors can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, X, Tik Tok and Snapchat, to name a few, without any control is a problem that is only increasing, especially with the entry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, which are used by criminal elements to commit their crimes,” Aponte said in a written statement. “It is very important to provide the necessary tools to parents and guardians so that they can monitor in detail the use of these networks, which although it is true that it brings people closer, it is no less true that children can be exposed to adult material, among other delicate situations.”

“I thank the Governor for developing, together with the staff of the Office of Innovation and Technology Services (PRITS), a platform to guide parents and/or guardians on the importance of monitoring and educating their children and the things they should be aware of to prevent them from being exposed to graphic materials for adults, among others,” the former House speaker added.

In 2022, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rescued 94 minors, victims of sex offenders who use social media to meet and search for children.

Aponte has recognized the importance of child safety on the internet for some time now. In 2012 he held the first symposium on the topic. He also held a forum on safety on video game platforms in 2013.

Among the pieces of legislation introduced by the veteran New Progressive Party lawmaker on the issue is a measure which creates, by law, the first Cybercrime Division within the island Justice Department.

Aponte Hernández issued his statement around the same time Thursday that U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announced that Victoria Gabriela Rodríguez Morales, an adult teenager from Adjuntas, was indicted by a federal grand jury a day earlier for allegedly making 13 interstate threats between May and October 2023, targeting schools, hospitals and law enforcement in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School were massacred by a teenage gunman in May 2022.

According to the indictment, Rodríguez Morales used Gmail, Instagram, Facebook and to issue her threats of shootings at Uvalde High School and Texas A&M College, as well as bombings at hospitals. She also threatened to kill Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter was killed in the Uvalde shooting, if she won the mayoral election.

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