Protecting your children from online predators

Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 21:24:09-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Child predators aren't just lurking in the streets any more. They're lurking online too. Police are warning of nine apps that could be dangerous for your children.

Technology is constantly evolving and every few months there seems to be a new app that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Metro Nashville police Detective Michael Adkins urges parents to have access to their child's phone, even if there is a passcode on it, and know what apps are on there.

"As a parent you need to figure out what the app does," said Adkins, "Don't pay attention the name of the app is, figure out what it does and figure out what your child can do on that app."

Many of these apps make it easy for strangers to prey on children because they allow anyone to contact and direct message your kid. Some even reveal your location. Predators may try to become friends with your kid to gain their trust on these apps.

It's important to monitor you child's phone activities, which can sometimes mean limiting their use.

"Never let them have their cell phones in their room at night," said Adkins, "there's just a whole bunch of bad things that can happen at that point."

Make sure to talk to them about never meeting up with someone who they haven't met in person.

"Someone you don't know is someone you haven't met face to face," said Adkins, "They meet someone online and they think they know them and that's their friend but that is no different than a stranger you communicated with."

Here are a list of some apps police say you should watch out for:

  • Snapchat: Allows users to send video and photos. It also allows users to see your location
  • Whisper: Promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It can also reveal your location
  • Tiktok: A video sharing app. Users can be vulnerable to cyber bullying and explicit content
  • KIK: Allows anyone to contact or direct message your child
  • Tinder: A dating app where users can create fake accounts and falsify their age
  • HOLLA: Video chat app that randomly match people in video chats from all over the world
  • Skout: Location based dating app
  • Whatsapp: Allows users to send texts, photos, voicemail and videos worldwide
  • Meetme: Widely considered a dating app, users can be introduced to others located nearby