Child Exploitation on Social Media
A Milwaukee County warrant reads like a parent's worst nightmare, a 15-year-old becomes friends with a 32-year-old while chatting on PlayStation's online game. The conversation moved to the app 'kik' with sexual messages. The teen's mother later discovered they were also friends on facebook and he had sent her sexual videos.
Glendale Police investigated another case with a 16-year-old receiving a snap chat where someone on the other end tried to extort her for nude photos.
None of it surprises Cathy Arney, Pathfinder's Community Services Vice President.
Arney says, "Just the availability of thousands of youth, that you have access to through social media that you wouldn't have in a park or hanging out in a neighborhood."
With constantly changing apps, Arney says having the talk with your child early about how to talk with stranger will prevent problems.
"Have their children have some red flags about what's really inappropriate. Certainly someone asking you for a naked picture is pretty obviously inappropriate."
But she says a lot of grooming can happen before a child takes a naked photo. Your child may even think they're talking with someone their own age. She says kids who have witnessed abuse, were abused, or are living in a violent area are likely to fall victim.