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Officials warn parents to be vigilant about smartphone apps used by their children

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Lake County Florida —

If you have children or know someone with children then you know that they spend a tremendous amount of time using electronics. Unfortunately as parents it is impossible to look over there shoulder every minute that they are using devices.

I am sure you would agree your childs safety of paramount importance to you, I can assure you there is nothing more important to me than the safety of my 11 year old son. I always spot check him to see what apps or what is on the screen and I question him on its use and functionality. Here is an article I recently came across I wanted to share.

A concerned father in Illinois has brought to light concerns about yet another smartphone app that allows child predators to contact children.

The app, Musical.ly, markets itself as a social platform for sharing videos, but the messaging feature in the program allows users to communicate directly.

The father in Illinois was alerted to the potential issues of the app when his 7-year-old daughter received a message from another user who tried to convince her to send him images of her not wearing a shirt.

Musical.ly is just the latest in a long line of smartphone apps that have caused concern for parents and law enforcement, FBI Special Agent Kevin Kaufman told Channel 9 Thursday.

“Whatever app is out there, it seems like as soon as we start looking into that app, there’s another app that’s brought to our attention,” he said.

While many parents monitor their children’s smartphone usage, Kaufman said that with certain apps can be installed to mask what they may be doing.

One such program is the Vault App, which appears to be a calculator but is actually a place to hide conversations.

Kaufman urged parents to use parental settings on the apps to keep their children safe, because today it’s Musical.ly, but there is no telling what app may be a problem tomorrow.

“It’s an epidemic,” he said. “And it seems like the cases that we work keep getting worse and worse, and (the victims) younger and younger.”

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