Shasta County district attorney warns parents of dangers of some apps

The Shasta County District Attorney's Office is speaking out to warn parents about the dangers some smartphone apps can pose to children.

Posted: Mar 14, 2018 6:20 PM
Updated: Mar 14, 2018 6:24 PM

The Shasta County District Attorney's Office is speaking out to warn parents about the dangers some smartphone apps can pose to children.

They say they can lead to everything from cyberbullying ‎and even worse, human trafficking.

With over 600,000 apps on the Android and Apple app stores, it's hard to keep track with what your kids download.

And with more apps coming out everyday, the district attorney's office says it's important to know what's on your kid's phone.

“Well, we just feel it's really important for parents to be informed about some of the applications that are out there so they can be aware if there's any cyber bullying going on,” Shasta County District Attorney's Office public information officer Molly Kidd says. “A lot of times human trafficking can be taken through the applications.”

Kidd says apps like Burnbook, an anonymous secret sharing app, make cyberbullying and spreading rumors easy in the digital age.

Another app, MyLOL is a teen dating app similar to Tinder that uses GPS and allows users to send messages to other users nearby.

“MyLOL, this one right here encourages them to send messages to strangers,” Kidd said. “So what do you think is going to happen when you send to strangers. You could talk to anybody.”

In Australia, police have called the app a "playground for paedophiles."

“And that's scary too, because that allows a predator to go on there, find the child and then locate them,” Kidd said.

But there is an easy way of keeping these apps, and other like them, off your child's phone.

Android and Apple both have built-in parental controls that require a passcode before new apps can be downloaded to a device.

Kidd says the district attorney's office is also reaching out to local schools to educate children and parents on the dangers of these apps.

“They talk about cyberbullying, sexting, anything and everything that happens with bullying,” Kidd said. “And then we also do a huge human trafficking presentation where it's all about how, who is susceptible to human trafficking.”

She says it's also a good idea to take an inventory of the apps on your child's phone ‎and research any that you're not familiar with.

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