If you believe you or your child has been targeted by a predator online, please contact your local police department.
Attorney General Todd Rokita has an important warning for parents about their children’s internet use. Technology is a great resource for learning, but it can also expose children to inappropriate and dangerous activities online.
“While technology and the internet can be helpful, they can also be harmful,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Social media platforms can be helpful, but they can also open the door to untraceable anonymous messages, sex trafficking and the exploitation of children by criminals. We all need to take steps to protect our children from online predators.
Attorney General Rokita wants parents to learn about popular phone apps that can make children vulnerable to online dangers. Some of them include:
- ICT Tac – TikTok is a popular app among kids which is used to create and share short videos with limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to explicit content, ads, and cyberbullying from the moment they sign up.
- Bumblebee – Bumble is a popular dating app that requires women to make first contact. It is common for minors to use this app and fake their age.
- Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for LGBTQ adults, not kids. The app gives users options to chat, share photos, and meet people based on a smartphone’s GPS location.
- Bogus calculator app – Most phones have a calculator app. However, there are many third-party calculator apps that serve as a “vault” where the user can hide photos, videos, files, and even browser history data.
- Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo and video sharing app that promises users that their photo or video will disappear even if it doesn’t. Snapchat stories allow users to view content for up to 24 hours and share their location.
- tinder – Tinder is a dating app that allows users to “swipe right” to like someone and “swipe left” to pass. Users can fake their age, share photos, send messages and meet.
- tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging application and website that allows users as young as 13 to create an account. There are very few privacy settings and the pornography is easy to find. Most messages are public and cannot be made private.
- WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a popular messaging application that allows users to send text messages, send photos, make calls and leave voice messages worldwide. This application makes it easier for predators to send messages to children without the knowledge of the parents.
- Youtube – YouTube is a video sharing application that may not be age appropriate for children. Inappropriate content can be found using innocent search terms, but with Parental Controls this can be avoided.
New apps are always available, so Attorney General Rokita offers some tips to help parents monitor their child’s online activity:
- Keep the computer or laptop in a common room in the house, not in a child’s room.
- Use parental controls available from internet service providers or use blocking software. Some are accessible by going to “Settings” on your device.
- Always maintain access to a child’s online account and monitor text, email, and other message inboxes.
- Familiarize yourself with IT safeguards, such as ffirewalls, anti-virus software, strong passwords and secure websites and ask if they are used at school, in the library and with friends.
- Never automatically assume that what you say to a child online is true.
If you believe you or your child has been targeted by a predator online, please contact your local law enforcement department. If you believe you have been the victim of an online scam, please file a complaint at indianaconsumer.com or call Attorney General Rokita’s office at 1-800-382-5516.