TEENAGERS ARE TARGETED WITH POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS APPS
Parents, are you aware of Spotafriend, Yellow and Omegle? A recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper in November 2017 quotes representatives from the San Diego-based Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is part of over 60 regional task forces across the country that focus on investigating Internet crimes against children. Spotafriend and Yellow are apps that are marketed to teens and are potentially dangerous according to law enforcement officials. Omegle isn’t an app but a website that can be accessed on mobile devices, “A chat room of sorts.” Investigators warn that adults on teen apps use various ploys to lure their victims. “Most of the apps, experts say, lack effective security measures to keep predators away.” “It is not uncommon for victims to be 11 or 12 years old, with the youngest being around 8 or 9 years old.” “As for the victims, boys and girls are represented fairly evenly in the cases they have investigated.”
A sergeant on the task force is quoted as saying, “It’s on the parents. They’re giving their child a gateway into the world when they give them that phone or that tablet. The good, the bad, the ugly.” Parents have a limited time available to effectively parent, guide and protect their minors. You need to know their friends, who they are communicating with, and keep them away from bad influences. Their minds are not fully developed while teenagers. They can be easily led astray and fall victim to the influences of others.
I am a former prosecutor and a defense attorney with over 47 years of legal experience. I do not want to have to represent your teenager who has sexted, has threatened to shoot someone at school, has bullied another person, has possessed and furnished child pornography, and has committed other crimes with their smartphones. I do not want one of your children to be a victim. A teenager viewing pornography is like pouring gasoline on a fire. This can lead to a minor teenager experimenting with sexual acts with other minor children.
Those of you who regularly read my blogs know I and other professionals have preached about the dangers of providing your teenagers with smartphones. You are a protective parent, not a bad parent, by denying your teenager a smartphone. There are phones available for telephone calls and texts that do not provide an entryway to the Internet. Computers, video games and other devices that permit your minor Internet access have to be closely monitored. Once they turn 18, they are adults. If they want to work and pay for cellular data, their smartphone, and the monthly plan that is their right to do so. You have done all you can to properly guide and protect them in their formative years.
Please review some of our prior blogs on this subject. THE MOST DANGEROUS GIFT – A CELL PHONE JUST SAY NO TO SMART PHONES FOR YOUR TEENAGERS