There is a social media app that millions of people, most of them underage, use to talk to people they haven’t met. As far as innovations go, the app is quite useful, connecting people no matter their distance.
What’s different about this app however is that users can have the option to set up fake profiles, using different photos and disguises to exploit people.
The easy access to anonymity makes this app appealing for sexual predators; they can do all their dirty deeds there, keep their privacy, and get away with it.
But that very thing makes it dangerous. So dangerous, as it happens, that a convicted sexual predator has contacted journalist to warn other parents.
“This is not a toy,” he said. “This is something very, very serious. This Kik app is getting dangerous.”
The sex offender, trying to overcome his attraction to children, added he was thrilled when the app first hit the market.
“The first thing that I thought was, ‘Wow! I can be whoever I want to be. I can get anybody I want. I can achieve my sexual glorification through this app’,” he said.
READ: How to teach your kids to protect themselves from child molestation
The app also includes a role-play function allowing predators to create a profile that is likely to lure the sorts of children they want to meet. You could even specify the age range you are interested in—and they would come to you.
“Please,” he said, “delete this app off your kids’ phone.”
Parents cannot control every aspect of their children’s activity, online or off, but there are things that you can do to protect your children.
There is no point trying to outsmart your kids, said cyber safety expert Leonie Smiththere. “Our children have a greater ability to outwit us if they really want to when it comes to technology.”
Forget trying to get on there yourself, but do keep an eye on what’s happening.
“Like everything else about parenting, get informed!” she added. “None of us had children that came with a How-To manual, we all had to learn about educating our children and catering to their particular needs.
“Digital parenting is just another side or part of parenting, admittedly one that we weren’t taught by our own parents, but never the less, it’s now part of our parenting responsibility, time to catch up.”
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