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Social media apps that could link your child to sexual predators

Posted at 11:14 AM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 12:14:35-05
TULSA -- New apps you didn't even know existed could be putting your child in harms way.
 
Kids carry around a mini computer with them every day, some as young as 8-years-old are exploring the World Wide Web.
 
2 Works For You reporter Laurene Callander sat down with students at Edison Prep to talk about the apps gaining popularity, ones that could connect your kids to sexual predators.
 
You see it everywhere you go, teens and kids with smartphones in their hands all the time.
 
It's the need to check their social media apps several times a day as a sense of security.
 
"Snapchat, I check that on the regular, Instagram, Facebook, I have them all," said Gus Nickel, Edison Prep senior.
 
But it's the new apps teens don't realize that can put them in danger without them realizing it.
 
"There’s this other app called MeetMe, I know some friends that use it, you could just find people in your area and message them and they can message you back," said Nickel.
 
Other apps you may not have heard of: Houseparty, WhatsApp, Kik, and Tango.
 
Somebody will FaceTime you out of the blue and you don’t know who they are and then if you answer it could be a predator it could be anybody," said Willow Morrow-Holder, Edison Prep freshman.
 
Some of these apps that give your exact location like Snapchat's newest feature, "Snap Map", pinpointing where you are at all times.
 
"I knew a friend that, they looked on Snapchat to find another friend and like just pulled up to their house, yeah, because they knew that they were there," said Holder.
 
This feature has to be turned off, just put it in "ghost mode".
 
These young adults are just using this for friendship, some look for romantic connections.
 
"He said I’m you know this age and do you want to talk and then there started talking and it just led to he asked her her address and she gave it to him and her parents found out," said Holder.
 
Police sat down with 2 Works For You, telling us typically these sexual predators start things off with simple conversation, but the moment they ask for personal information should be a red flag.
 
"He was like from somewhere overseas and he kept asking me about baseball and then asked me where I stayed, if I stayed in the city," said Malik Adams, Edison Prep junior.
 
The scariest part is there is never a way for you to fund out who you are really talking to.
 
Tulsa cyber crimes detectives show us just how easy it is to conceal an identity.
 
"I put in completely fake information that I made up on the spot and within 30 seconds I’m ready to start communicating with people," said Detective Joshua Showman with the Tulsa police cyber crimes.
 
Moral of the story, don't talk to strangers. But today there's much more to be cautious of.
 
"You need to avoid the guy in the van but you also need to avoid the person with the really nice looking profile pic with a really smooth way of speaking," said Detective Showman.
 
Police urge parents to check their child's phone regularly and know their passwords.
 
The important thing, talk to them about the dangers of these predators, and teach them what to look out for when they're scrolling through these apps.
 
Here are some of the apps to be aware of: Tango, MeetMe, WhatsApp, Kik, Tinder, Live.me, TextNow, Houseparty, Hangouts, WeChat, Skout, Pheed.
 

 

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