The recent arrests of 25 men in Florida for allegedly trying to have sex with children has prompted a sheriff there to issue another ‘app warning’ for parents, reports CBS Miami.
The arrests happened from July 17 to July 20 after the suspects responded to internet ads, online apps and social media sites, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
During his press conference last week, the sheriff listed 15 apps as ones that parents need to know about. (Six of them were used by suspected predators who were recently arrested.)
- The first is ‘MeetMe,’ an app where teens can easily be in contact with users much older than them, with an emphasis on dating.
- ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘SnapChat’ are for messaging, but what you should know is teens can send unlimited messages, have video chats and even share their live location with other users, people they may not even know.
- ‘Skout’ is a flirting app that’s used to meet and chat with new people. Teens and adults are in different groups, but ages aren’t verified.
- ‘TikTok’ is used for sharing user created videos that can contain bad words, even adult content.
- ‘Badoo’ and ‘Bumble’ are dating apps for adults, but teens can still find ways to join.
- ‘Grindr’ is geared towards the LGBTQ community. It allows users to share photos and meet up based on phone’s GPS location.
- ‘Kik’ is specifically for kids, but anyone can join and anyone can contact or direct message your child.
- ‘LiveMe’ is a live streaming app, but you don’t know who’s watching and your kids location is revealed.
- ‘Holla’ is all about connecting strangers around the world through video chat. Enough said.
- ‘Whisper’ is a social confessional where kids can remain anonymous, but still share their feelings. And it can reveal your child’s location for a meet up.
- ‘ASKfm’ encourages people to allow anonymous users to ask them questions, which opens the door for online bullying.
- ‘Hot or Not’ rates users on attractiveness.. There’s no age verification and users can send each other messages.
- And lastly, ‘Calculator%’ apps are several secret apps that allows kids to hide their photos, videos, even browser history.
Common Sense Media is a good website to keep handy. It gives parents a break down on what they should know about each and every app out there. And it provides advice on monitoring your kids apps.
View the sheriff’s Facebook post here for a brief description of the apps.
“Unfortunately, the internet allows for easy and anonymous access to children by strangers who are hiding behind a computer screen,” Sheriff Tom Knight told CBS.