ROGERS, Ark. (KFTA) — Most people in Western culture use phone applications every day, but some degenerates in society use them to prey on kids. One U.S. attorney hosted a town hall-style meeting at First Baptist Church in Rogers on Sunday to discuss ways parents can protect their kids.
Dak Kees is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, and he said today’s digital age features several problems for kids and teens, including online predators, cyberbullying, criminal sexting and others.
“We just basically created these town hall meetings with parents to tell them this is what’s out there, and this is how best to protect your children,” Kees said. “Every app that I’m showing you, there’s probably 30 to 40 apps just like it.”
Kees talked about apps predators use to reach kids. Some are familiar to most parents, such as Facebook and Instagram. Others, like Whisper, Burn Note and YikYak, are lesser known.
“The average parent has no idea what is on their children’s phone and what they’re capable of,” Kees said.
One example Kees shared featured a Washington County man who began stalking a child online through the mother’s Facebook page. Through geotags on the woman’s posts, the man was able to determine personal details about the child’s life. The man showed up at the kid’s school and claimed to be his mother’s friend by sharing these details.
“We had to sedate her when we told her it was her Facebook account that led the predator to her son,” Kees said.
Kees also talked about sexting, where teens send nude pictures to each other through texts or apps.
“Fifteen-year-old boy asks 15-year-old girlfriend, ‘will you please send a naked picture [to] me?’” Kees said. “He has just committed a crime.”
Kees said the apps themselves are fine but can be used as a tool, similar to cars. He said parents need to keep a close watch on their kids in today’s digital age.
“I talk to parents all the time that come to find out that a sexual predator was reaching out to their child when their child was in the same room as them,” Kees said.