Predators target kids on new apps

Law enforcement officers have reported an increase in the number of sexual assaults involving children and online dating sites, but there are dozens of smartphone apps that predators are targeting that have nothing to do with dating.

According to Det. Jeff Curl with the Beaumont Police Department, these assaults have lead to another online epidemic against children that they call "Sextortion."

"They extort that child, threaten that child that they're going to send their image to their friends if they don't do more online," Curl said.

The Internet Crimes Against Children task force reports that the number of complaints of online predators nationwide has grown from 5,300 in 2010 to 7,000 in 2013.

Det. Curl said it happens most in messaging apps like Tango, Kik and the more widely known Snapchat.

"No child should have it [Snapchat] on their phone," Curl said.

According to Curl, Snapchat is so dangerous because it's a discreet app that most parents aren't familiar with. The app allows you to take photos or short videos to send to other users, that user then has a limited amount of time to view or copy that picture or video.

Even if parents can't prevent their children from using the technology, Curl said they can at least communicate.

"Your child has to know no matter what they've done they can tell you," Curl said. "No matter how bad it might be."


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