Dangerous Apps On Your Teenager’s Internet Devices

Dangerous Apps On Your Teenager's Internet Devices

If you have provided or plan to provide your teenager with a Smartphone with internet access, I encourage you to install parental controls and on all internet accessible devices, i.e. Ipads, Ipods, and computers. Parental controls are helpful but not foolproof in protecting your child from harmful conduct.

PlanetGreenRecycle.com, March 10, 2015, listed 10 Apps your teenager should not have on their internet devices. The information is from the PlanetGreenRecycle.com website.

1. SNAPCHAT – Enables members to send photos and videos to other Snapchat users. Many teenagers are using Snapchat to sext one another. They are under the impression their photo will self destruct after a certain number of seconds. Snapchat knows sexting and the transmission of sexual images by minors are being sent via their App, but it does nothing to prevent this type of behavior. Adults are also using Snapchat to transmit sexual content. There are ways a user can capture the pictures and screen shots and save them. The FBI warns about the dangers of Snapchat for minors.

2. TINDER – Statistics show that more than 450 million Tinder profiles exist. The dating App has gained a lot of fame because it gives users access to dozens of profiles. The App uses GPS location to suggest matches living nearby. Tinder also features a rating system enabling members to give a grade to the profile of others. This rating system has become associated with cyber-bullying. The GPS locator poses certain risks especially if used for the wrong purposes by a non-family member.

3. WHISPER – This anonymous community enables its members to share posts and status updates without revealing their identity. It also has a chat feature. Many kids enjoy the anonymity of Whisper, which encourages them to share secrets and sensitive information with strangers. Ill-intentioned adults can use the App to access information that will potentially compromise the safety of a minor. Revealing too much may also become a reason for cyber-bullying. “Whisper on kids’ phones could potentially give them access to pornographic content and indecent posts by others. A lot of the content focuses on sex and drug abuse, which may have a detrimental impact on a teen or teen’s development.”

4. YIK YAK – This is another anonymous, Smartphone-based community. The comments posted by YikYak users are shared with 500 people living nearby (based on GPS localization). “Fox News recently published a report written by psychiatrist Keith Ablow. According to Dr. Ablow, YikYak is the most dangerous App that has ever come in existence. Classmates can easily become members of a virtual community, sharing mean comments and malicious remarks about each other. Cyper-bullying becomes an easy, convenient, and readily available option.”

5. POOF – Poof is an App created for the sole purpose of hiding other Apps on a Smartphone. A kid can use Poof to hide Snapchat or Whisper, essentially preventing parents from ever learning about their installation on the phone. Seeing the Poof App on your child’s phone should be an instant red flag, as it indicates that your child may be trying to hide something. Perhaps you recall news of a Colorado high school where many of the senior students were distributing pornography/child pornography between themselves and hiding it on their phones on an App behind what appeared to be a calculator.

6. CHATROULETTE AND OMEGLE – “When installed on kids’ mobile phones, these Apps will enable video chat with other users. There are no filters in terms of what could be revealed during the session. Many ChatRoulette users will pose nude in front of the camera and the random nature of the App will give your child no control over the communication.” “ChatRoulette conversations can be recorded. Anything your teenager does or says may come back to haunt them in the future. This record can be posted elsewhere and popularized easily through social media. Numerous children have become victims of cyber-bullying because of the mere existence of Apps like ChatRoulette and Omegle.”

7. BLENDR – It’s main premise is anonymity. Blendr enables just about anyone to communicate with another user of the App. This is one of the main reasons why the App is quite often utilized for sexting. Another danger stems from the fact that the GPS localization enables the users to communicate with other Blendr members located nearby. Having strangers aware of your child’s physical location is certainly far from safe.

8. ASK.FM – “A popular network that is mostly used by teens, Ask.fm allows members to ask each other questions. There are no restrictions in terms of topic or language used. Ask.fm is also commonly associated with cyber-bullying. There is no editorial guidelines and none of the content gets reviewed before it is published. As a result, the amount of Ask.fm abuse has been growing rapidly. Ask.fm doesn’t enable its members to protect their privacy in any way. There are opportunities for blocking other users of the App. The blocked users, however, can still access and view content.”

9. VINE – “The App enables the creation of short videos, but many of these may have pornographic nature. According to the official terms and conditions, Vine has a 17+ restriction. However, it’s very easy for teenagers to get around the limitation. Apart from being exposed to inappropriate content, teens have the chance to upload indecent videos. Getting such content deleted from the web is an impossible task.”

10, KIK – “This is yet another free texting alternative enabling communications via text messages and images. This App can make it easy for your child to talk to strangers. Kik is supposed to come with an age restriction but taking a single look at its App Store page reveals a completely different truth. Many of the reviews (which sound like profiles on a hookup website) are written by individuals under the age of 13.”

11.  TELEGRAM – This App was not listed by PlanetGreenRecycle.  The App is very similar to Snapchat.  You send a message and the message will disappear after a certain amount of time like Snapchat.



Nude selfie with a Minor will get you a prison sentence. Learn to keep yourself safe.

The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2017, upheld a 15-year prison sentence for a 45-year-old man who took nude selfies with a cell phone with a consenting 16-year-old female in the State of Washington. The girl knew and consented to the nude photos being taken with her cell phone. The selfies depicted full frontal nudity and other pornographic poses with the man and girl.

In the State of Washington a 16 year-old is legally able to give consent to a sexual relationship. A second and separate Washington statute makes a man guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor if the person aids, invites, employs, authorizes, or causes a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct. The age of majority is 18 in Washington unless emancipated or legally married. Thus the man was found guilty in Federal Court of 18 U.S.C. section 2251(a) and (e), production of child pornography. He also was convicted of possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a) (5) (B) and (b) (2). The court set forth, “The fact that the sexual relationship was legal under Washington law did not legitimize the production and possession of child pornography under the state or federal law. ” The court sentenced the man to a prison sentence of 15 years for the production charge and 10 years prison for the possession of child pornography. The court found federal jurisdiction because the cell phones used, the laptop the photos were transferred to, and the digital camera used all contained parts made in other countries.

To prove a conviction for production of child pornography the government was required to prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) the girl was a minor; that is, someone under 18; (2) the defendant employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed or coerced to the girl to take part in the sexually explicit conduct, and (3) that visual depiction was produced using materials that had been transported in interstate or foreign commerce. The court found the defendant had told the minor they looked good together when taking the selfies and that he wanted to take nude pictures of them. There was no evidence the defendant distributed, transferred the photos, or displayed them to others.

The government’s theory of the prosecution and arguments made would apply to prosecutions of anyone, adults or juveniles, snapping a photo showing consenting individuals, if one is a minor, engaged in intimacy and storing the photos on a cell phone, laptop, or camera that contains some parts that were made in other countries or across state lines.


Father loses custody over unsecured loaded firearm

In a recently published decision, January 24, 2017, a Court of Appeal in California upheld a father losing custody of his children in a juvenile court dependency case (Child Protective Service case). His children were a 4-year old girl and a 6-month old boy. The father was a licensed security guard who had a permit to carry an exposed firearm. He had been unemployed for several years and was the children’s primary caretaker. The father stored a loaded 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun with extra magazines and loose ammunition in a closet between the kitchen and the bedrooms. The gun was in a black nylon bag on the third shelf from the bottom about four feet up from the ground. It was accessible to his children.

The father was under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He was observed leaving his house. His truck was stopped and the DEA found three pounds of crystal methamphetamine in the truck. During questioning, the father told the police about his loaded firearm in the hall closet. The police found the gun and notified Child Protective Services of the father’s endangering his children by leaving a loaded firearm in a location accessible to his children. A dependency petition was filed in Juvenile Court to remove custody of the children from their father. The court had no problem with finding that a young child with access to a loaded gun is at substantial risk of serious physical harm. The court’s research did not find any published cases in California on this issue, but did find a number of published decision from other states (New York, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia) which also removed children from their parent(s) due to leaving a loaded firearm accessible to children. The court did cite a California case which found that leaving drugs in a location accessible to their children exposed the children to substantial risk of serious physical harm. It manifested a “gross lack of attention to the child’s welfare.”

The court referred to cases from the New York courts which found a parent endangers a child by leaving a firearm within reach of a child. In one of the cases cited the mother left a loaded gun on a bed accessible to her 3-year-old son and next to her 5-month-old daughter who was in a crib, thereby creating an imminent danger that their physical, mental, and emotional health would be harmed. In another published decision, the New York Appellate courts upheld a finding of parental neglect where the parent was storing illegal guns in the home where the children had access to them. In a third case, the court found parental neglect where the father kept “a loaded semi-automatic gun in a plastic bin near where the child slept.”

Please review my prior blog where a father negligently stored a loaded revolver in the garage. His children and a neighbor boy found the loaded handgun while playing in the garage. The neighbor boy was shot and killed. The father was criminally prosecuted for child endangerment. He received a sentence of 4 years in prison. A New Jersey father received a 3-year prison sentence for negligent storage of a firearm. He kept an unlocked, loaded .22 caliber rifle in his bedroom. His 4-year-old son found the rifle, took it outside, and shot his 6-year-old friend in the head. The child died the next day.
I cannot stress enough that both parents have a duty to protect their children and not expose them to substantial risks to their safety and/or emotional well being. It is not sufficient for either parent to say it is not my gun and that the other parent is responsible for it. Make sure any guns in the home are kept in a locked, secure gun safe and your children cannot gain access to them without parental supervision.


Texting Codes-Do You Know What They Mean?

Texting codes translated

The BBC App recently posted codes teenagers use to disguise their phone and online messages. The following is a quick guide to some of the texting codes teenagers are using these days:

WYRN: What’s your real name?
HAK: Hugs and kisses
ASL: Age, sex and location
WTTP: Want to trade pictures?
53X: Sex
CU46: See you for sex
NIFOC: Naked in front of computer
PAL: Parents are listening
KPC: Keeping parents clueless
PRON: Porn
ZERG: To gang up on someone
RU/18: Are you over 18?
BROKEN: Hungover
LMIRL: Let’s meet in real life

Please review some of my prior blogs regarding Smartphones. We strongly encourage parents to delay providing Smartphones with internet connectivity to their teenagers until they graduate from high school. A friend of mine told me her way of managing this was to tell her two sons that should they wish data for their phones they could get jobs and pay for it. It worked with great success.

Lives Can Be Destroyed by Risky Sexual Behavior

Risky Sexual behavior

A January 2017 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune was captioned “Naval Officer To Face Trial on Felony Attempted Rape Charges.” He allegedly sexually assaulted a fellow female officer. The article set forth he was married and has 5 children. He has been in the Navy 16 years. The service will surely dishonorably discharge him if found guilty. His five children will likely be without a father for a number of years, if convicted, while he serves prison time. Throughout my legal career I have represented men like him. But this is not about him. It is about the wake of destruction and hurt he has caused.

Service men/women who commit felony offenses will be dishonorably discharged from the service. If they do not have their 20 years in for retirement, they and their dependents lose everything. The service does not provide any source of income to their wives/husbands. The family loses their health benefits. A service man/woman could have honorably done their job for 19 years but it all goes out the window if they get kicked out of the service.

If you believe that any of us is not capable, under the right circumstances, of engaging in some taboo or criminal behavior, I must respectfully disagree with you. Being an attorney for over 46 years dealing with adults and juveniles engaging in risky/criminal behavior I have seen it all. I have represented a number of juveniles charged with rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, lewd conduct with younger children, making terrorist threats and many other type offenses.

Parents must be aware and properly supervise what their children are doing, both at home, at school, on the internet and social media, and know their friends. Do not fool yourself that your great kid would never engage in harmful behavior. As the Navy Commander displayed by putting himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, even well-educated adults can engage in extremely risky and family-destroying behavior.

I am amazed how many parents do not know the laws concerning the age of consent for sexual acts between teenagers. They do not know if their teenagers are engaging in sexual intercourse. This type of behavior can lead to very serious charges being filed against your teenager that can have lifelong consequences. If you think your parental job is over when they graduate from high school, your young adult needs as much if not more counseling/warning of the dangers they are facing with unlawful sexual behavior and acts in college. The federal government is coming down very hard on college students who allegedly commit sexual abuse, assault, or engage in relationship violence in violation of Title IX. Unless the colleges very aggressively pursue these types of charges, they can lose their federal funding. The federal government has even put into the regulations that an alleged victim is totally immune when making false allegations and cannot be disciplined and sued for making up lies about their alleged assault/attack. Not only does your young adult have a good chance of being expelled from their college, but they can be criminally prosecuted and face mandatory prison time.

I strongly recommend parents use the amended Consent to Engage in Sexual Acts form to discuss with their teenagers/family members what they have to be very careful about before engaging in risky/criminal type behavior. It discusses the age of consent to engage in sexual acts, acquiring signed consent, intoxication, safe words, birth control, and sexual diseases. Start parenting/counseling your children on these subjects when they enter middle school. Sexting and engaging in unlawful sexual conduct is taking place by middle schools students.

Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »