WASHINGTON - The arrest of a Prince George's County elementary school volunteer accused of taking pictures and videos of students performing sex acts may leave you wondering how something like this could possibly happen.
Prince George’s County police said the Kik messenger app made it possible for this alleged predator to exploit his victims.
Kik is an app where people can remain anonymous and approach whoever they want for any reason. You can do many things with the app such as messaging people as well as sending photos and videos.
The app doesn't have character limits and it was created to get around cell phone data plans and traditional texting plans. But there is no age verification, so you have no idea who is on the other end.
Sexual predators have been known to use it to groom their victims. Internet safety experts say part of the problem is children share way too much information in these forums such as their age and where they live.
They say it is important for children to know who they are communicating with and that parents should repeatedly instill the safety message into their child’s mind.
In addition, experts say parents should know exactly what apps their children are using and how they are using them.
“It's very important to have an atmosphere of trust around the use of technology so that your kids will be very open with you about what they are doing and how they are using the technology,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president and chairman of Enough is Enough, an organization that focuses on protecting children from internet pornography and sexual predators. “Also for parents to draw clear boundaries of how they expect to the technology to be used by their children.”
Kik also played a part in the case of two Virginia Tech students charged in the death of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell from Blacksburg, Virginia.
Law enforcement officers said Kik is becoming an increasing concern for police and parents are encouraged to learn more about this latest app and talk to their children about it.