Authorities warn of app dangers after suspected child predator sting

Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 23:42:44-04

Authorities want parents to know about the potential danger lurking on your child's phone.

According to WFLA, Florida deputies arrested 21 men in a six-day sting called "Operation Intercept Five," all accused of soliciting young girls and boys, many times using social media apps.

Investigators say some of these apps make your children a perfect target, allowing them to send messages, images and even sometimes their location.

Here's what the experts say you can do to keep them safe:

  • Check the app's privacy settings
  • Approve every app on their phone
  • Talk with your kids about how they use their tech devices

WFLA reporter that these are the top 15 apps authorities say parents should look out for:

MEETME is a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on geographic proximity. As the apps name suggests, users are encouraged to meet each other in person.

WHATSAPP is a popular messaging app that allows users to send texts, photos, voicemails, make calls, and video chats worldwide. WHATSAPP uses an internet connection on smartphones and computers.

BUMBLE is similar to the popular dating app “Tinder,” however, it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.

LIVE.ME is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn “coins” as a way to “pay” minors for photos.

ASK.FM is known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.

GRINDR is a dating app geared towards gay, bi and transgender people. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet up based on a smart phone’s GPS location.

TIKTOK is a new mobile device app popular with kids used for creating and sharing short videos. With limited privacy controls, users are vulnerable to cyberbullying and explicit content.

SNAPCHAT is one of the most popular apps of 2018. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, new features including “stories” allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.

HOLLA is a self-proclaimed “addicting” video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.

CALCULATOR% is only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.

SKOUT is a location-based dating app and website. While users under 17 years old are unable to share private photos, kids can easily create an account using a different age.

BADOO is a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. While the app is intended for adults only, teens are known to create profiles.

KIK allows anyone to contact and direct message to your child, bypassing traditional text messaging features and gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

WHISPER is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.

HOT OR NOT encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area, and chat with strangers. The goal of this app is to hook up.