Authorities Warn About Smartphone Apps Being Used To Lure Teens
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and district attorney have joined together to issue a warning to parents to be aware of their children’s smartphone applications.
Children can now download apps that connect them with strangers. Locators on their phone can even give away where they are.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger on Monday spotted a group of teens near a high school and asked if strangers ever try to contact them by phone or on the Internet. The answer was “yes.”
“And they would message you and ask you how old you are and where you live,” one teen student said.
“They are trying to get anything just to draw you out so they can harm your family, harm anything that’s related to your life,” another student said.
“It’s that simple step, ‘Can I take a look at your iPhone, son?’ Take a look at it and say, ‘Good job.’ Pat him on the back. Another month, do the same thing again,” Douglas County Undersheriff Tony Spurlock said at a news conference.
They showed examples of apparent luring from an app called Grindr asking, “What is your hidden talent, weird human trick or secret skill?” There was another from Craigslist, and they cited apps including Blendr, Adam for Adam, Hookup, Manhunt, and GL Chat.
“I’m talking 14 — that are engaging in these adult acts without any sort of protection, unprotected sex with these strangers that they’ve met over these applications,” District Attorney George Brauchler said.
Many smartphone apps come with a simple question about the user’s age that’s easy to bypass.
Authorities urge parents to not only check their children’s phone apps, but use a passcode available on some phones to control their use.