(WHNT) – Many parents make an effort to monitor what their kids do online and with a cell phone but they also need to be watching for texting apps – tools that can open the door for predators to reach children.
“They were asking sexual questions [on my daughter's cell phone] – asking for pictures,” one Colorado mom recently told Denver television station KMGH, “I’m scrolling through this and I’m like… Oh my gosh, who is this person?”
What made the communication possible? A texting app – a popular method of communication that many people use to help cut down on text message plan fees through a cell phone provider.
“Parents aren’t aware of them,” explained Det. Mike Harris with the Jefferson County, Colorado District Attorney’s Office, “Kids are using those applications to communicate in a manner that their parents will never ever know about because most parents don’t go through every single app.”
Harris said some of the most popular apps are Text Free, Text Now and Text Plus. Members who use these apps can chat with each other in an easy, cheap way. Unfortunately, they can also allow strangers to contact and even harass children.
Advice for parents? Keep an eye on any methods of communication your child may be using electronically. Remember to warn them of “stranger danger” and that the same safety rules apply, even when talking online or through a cell phone.
Parents might also try tools like My Mobile Watchdog – to help them keep track of a child’s digital communication more carefully.
Watch WHNT News 19 at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13th for more details!