IDAHO CITY, Idaho — Officer David Gomez is well known in the Treasure Valley. He served as a school resource officer in Meridian for years, and now he is working in Idaho City.
"I'm a school resource officer, so I take care of the school and all the issues in it, but what I also do is I build relationships with the kids and the community," said SRO David Gomez. "I do know the kids very well, I know where they live, I know their families, I know their challenges. I work to get kids what they need to come to school and be successful."
But, what he is most well known for is his Facebook page, simply titled Officer Gomez. He has a hundred thousand followers from here in Idaho, and all over the country. Some are even from outside the United States!
His goal? To help parents raise better kids in this high-tech and fast-paced world; smartphones, social media, drugs, sex. He talks about it all, and helps parents navigate those topics in their own homes. Years ago, as a new school resource officer in Meridian, Gomez realized something.
"As I started learning and discovering what the kids were doing on social media, I decided that their parents had really no idea," said Gomez. "They don't see everything that I see at the school. So, then I started teaching classes to the parents, then I started teaching classes to the kids. The more I taught the more I learned, the more I learned the more I needed to tell parents what was truly going on. Then, I started putting it out on Facebook so that I can get the info out to more parents who needed it."
Gomez had no idea that his Facebook page would explode the way it has, but parents who follow him say he is providing a valuable service. An inside look at the dangers our kids are facing daily.
"I post about the dangers of specific apps, I post about the issues we see at the school that could be helped by some parenting at home, what parents should be talking about with their kids, when you should start talking to your kids about sex, and what the kids are talking about. They are sending nude pictures of themselves, trading nude pictures, smoking, doing drugs. We cover a lot of information about drugs that the kids are doing, and where they are getting them from, and what parents can do when they catch their kids with drugs."
Smartphones can be a gateway to a lot of unhealthy choices, and he has one big piece of advice when it comes to giving your child a phone.
"Minimum 13-years-old, sixteen is better. Eighteen is even better than that," Gomez told KTVB. "I have two requirements for giving your kids a smartphone, one is a minimum of thirteen years of age, the other is you have to be comfortable that your child is going to be looking at pornography on that cell phone. No parent is okay with that. Wait."
Gomez is a regular speaker at safety and education conferences, and this year, he was honored with the Enrique Camarena Award by the Idaho Elks for his incredible work educating kids and parents about drugs. He is quick to point out that he is just one of the many people working in education in Idaho who are making a difference.
"I am a small piece of many people who do these things, teachers, bus drivers, crossing guards, librarians. I am a small piece of a big wheel of a community that cares greatly about everybody."
Gomez will be speaking at a free safety event for parents on Oct, 20, at 6 p.m. at Kuna High School, called Save My Family. The goal is to commit to waiting until at least age sixteen to give your child a smartphone and social media. At that age, Gomez says kids are simply better decision makers. You can register now by clicking HERE. This event is for parents only, due to sensitive subject matter, and it is best to leave your kids at home.
Officer David Gomez SRO is passionate about helping families. His goal is to protect what he calls "his" kids, all the kids here in Idaho. Right now, he is doing that one Facebook post at a time.
"As the word seems to get darker, we need to be brighter, and help out more and more."
Committing to 16 has partnered with safe phone and watch companies to provide a discount on devices that do not have web browsers. There are alternatives to giving kids an iPhone at age 12. Gabb, Pinwheel, Troomi, Tick Talk, and Bark have options that experts say are more appropriate for this age group.
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