BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Kids and teenagers have access to unlimited apps through their devices and predators know that.
That’s why Tuesday’s workshop was important so that parents could identify apps that could cause harm.
“TikTok is the number one social media platform where children are being sexually solicited online and being trafficked online,” said Monique Gorman, Gulf Coast Children Advocacies Center, Victims Program Coordinator.
TikTok isn’t the only app. Anonymous apps like Kik Messenger, Yubo, TextNow, and OnlyFans are considered to be unsafe for teens.
Some apps aren’t so obvious. There are apps disguised as a calculator but are actually used for hiding files and images.
Anonymous posting applications can be breeding grounds for predators.
“Predators can really be any other child or an adult who is looking for a child online to abuse in some way and typically that’s some type of sexual abuse,” Gorman said.
There are many different kinds of predators with different tactics to lure children through these apps.
“Sometimes they will certainly lie about who they truly are they may say ‘hey I am a kid, I go to the same school as you, hey let’s be friends.’ So we really try to stress with students if you do not know a person- please don’t communicate with someone online. They could be pretending to be somebody they’re not,” Gorman said.
That’s why it is important for parents to learn about the dangers and what all their children have access to.
“The material we use says 1 in 7 children will be sexually solicited online. 1 in 7 kids will be sexually solicited. We think that number has certainly increased since the pandemic.”
Talamantez hopes the workshop encourages parents to monitor what their children are doing on social media and who they are talking to.