Back to School time also leads to an increased social media activity for teenagers.
“We will expect to see some trouble,” said Captain Adam Flowers with the Canadian Co. Sheriff’s Office. “Usually sexting will start to pop up. Kids that are getting phones for the first time, a lot of junior high kids that will start experimenting,” he added.
Canadian County Captain Adam Flowers is one of the top sex crimes investigators in the metro.
He said Snapchat is the most popular social media app for junior high and high schoolers and it can be dangerous when kids start sending photos.
“They don't think about the consequences, they don't think about the whole school getting the pictures, mom, dad, principal, administrators,” Flowers said. “They only think, "Hey, this person likes me, I like them, this is sexually exciting," he added.
That behavior can lead to cyberbullying over leaked photos or more.
“Predators are also flocking to these sites and joining these groups to download and save these pictures and videos, and they will trade it amongst themselves,” Flowers explained.
Any social media app that has private messaging is a concern for investigators.
They have seen trouble locally with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Kik, as well as online gaming platforms Roblox and Minecraft for the younger kids.
Video apps TikTok and LiveMe have also caused problems.
“We have issues with kids getting on Meet Me and Tinder, I mean, hookup apps for adults,” Flowers said.
A new app Flowers just came across is the hookup app Hud.
“It's extremely dangerous, it turns your phone into a GPS location,” he said.
Flowers just busted an alleged child sex predator who used the Hud app to talk to what he thought was a 14 year old girl.
It was an undercover operation and the man was really talking to Flowers.
Flowers said you must monitor your child's social media activity and do not feel bad about it.
“Your child is talking to random people or random people are trying to contact your child,” he explained.
There are several parental apps available like Famisafe, MeetCircle and Bark.
Big software security firms like Norton and McAfee have parental monitoring products, too.
Below is a list of resources for parents to research which product and method is right for their family: