How certain apps could let predators into child's bedroom
FBI, detectives warn parents about livestreaming apps your kids may be using
There is a warning for parents about a real-life dangerous game of hide-and-seek with apps going on that could let predators into your child's bedroom.
Apps like SnapChat, Kik and LiveMe allow anonymous communication with anyone at any time. Investigators say LiveMe, with its 20 million users, allows livestreaming which could link children with dangerous adults.
One girl who is clearly underage gave anyone online a live glimpse as she danced provocatively in her bedroom. It's on an app called LiveMe. More than 800 people watched, sending her comments such as "love you," "kiss me" and other things too sexually explicit.
"It's open for anybody to ask them to do anything," said Paul, a father of four.
In another, two girls, likely not even in their teens, were chatting with more than 100 viewers, hoping for internet fame, rewarded with prizes and followers, and having conversations with people hiding behind anonymous user names.
The girls' parents clearly had no idea, and they'd be shocked to see what happened next. One of the girls changed in the back of the room, stripping down to underwear as someone with the user name "Dog 12" encouraged the girls to "take everything off."
Special agents Bernard and MacDonald are undercover investigators with the FBI's Crimes Against Children Task Force.
"It is happening everywhere, worldwide," Bernard said.
Bernard and MacDonald can't single out particular apps, but shared concerns about livestreaming sites.
"The hunting ground of individuals that have a sexual interest in children has relocated to online," Bernard said.
"I don't think that any parent would be OK with strangers visiting their child in their child's bedroom at night," MacDonald said. "That's essentially what some of these smartphones and applications allow a predator to do."
Among the more concerning features is location services, which can be used to pinpoint exact locations -- within 10 feet.
On the LiveMe app, it says "Sexual or violent content is strictly prohibited. All violators will be banned." LiveMe administrators say employees are looking for inappropriate and illegal content. But it continues.
"A lot of girls in my school have it, and they wanted me to download it, I guess, so I could watch them live," said Nathan, who is 14 years old.
While the kids in this family knew about the app, the parents had no idea.
"There's ways that we can protect, but if we don't know about it, wasn't aware about it until today," Paul said.
"My kids won't be on it," Melissa said.
The organization TeenSafe warns parents to check to see if their children are using apps, including LiveMe, SnapChat, Kik, Tinder, Down and Yubo.
Children using these sites could be vulnerable to predators. TeenSafe also cautions those sites can also be a haven for cyberbullies.
To protect your children from online predators, the FBI also recommends:
1. Checking your children's phone regularly to see what apps are installed.
2. Frequently checking their phone's history as well. If it's deleted, that could be a red flag that they're doing things they shouldn't.
3. You should also keep phones and tablets out of children's bedrooms.
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