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How to protect your kids from the dark corners of the web

Posted at 8:34 PM, Jul 15, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — One out of every five teens has already been contacted by at least one child predator online.

First, child sex crimes detectives waste very little time on sites like Facebook and Twitter. They're too public for the dark corners of a predator's world.

However, investigators say the most popular chat apps, including Messenger, Snapchat and Instagram are predator hot zones.

Paul Spokas, a police investigator, said, as a parent, the first thing you should be asking yourself is what apps are on your child's devices.

According to Spokas, Mokospace, Kik, Omegle and Whisper are quiet, pedophile-friendly apps that can expose your kids to those with less than honorable intentions.

They all offer video chat options. Whisper even shows users how far away they are from each other.

Another thing to watch out for is so called ghost apps.

"You can look at the phone storage and the different apps that are on there,” Spokas said. “Things like calculator take up a small amount of data, maybe 128 megabytes. Whereas if there's another calculator that's on there, a secondary one and it has something like 5-gigabytes of data on it, more than likely that's a ghost app and they're hiding different kinds of things on there."

Bottom line: If there are apps on your child's phone that you don't recognize, don't be afraid to ask them what it is.

Ask them to log in if it's not logged in. Have them show you how it works.

That way you know if they're being safe online.