The Corpus Christi Police Department would like to warn parents of the dangers of image sharing phone applications which may expose their children.
Several people in the community have notified the Corpus Christi Police Department of online solicitation of minors through a variety of image sharing applications on cell phones. Parents should be aware that any communications app has the opportunity for predators and parents should teach their children awareness and protective actions if the kids are allowed to participate in any communications app.
An example of online solicitation was made available to the Corpus Christi Police Department via an application called musical.ly in which children share lip synching videos of their songs. Police want parents to be aware that the opportunity exists for predators on any application that offers broad two-way public communication.
The Texas Department of State Health Services offers general recommendations for internet safety:
- “Create and set clear rules for the child and enforce the rules.
- IMMEDIATELY CONTACT law enforcement if the child reports inappropriate language, inappropriate material, being solicited, threatened, stalked, or a person requests to meet the child in person.
- ENSURE that the child does not give out any personal information about themselves or the adult such as their name, home address, birthday, age, sex, phone number, sports team, favorite places to play, school name, school address, teacher’s name, parent’s name, telephone number, friend’s screen name, email address, screen name, password, email address, or even feelings. Sex offenders often target children who are vulnerable, lonely, sad, and have low self-esteem. Children crave attention and affection but lack caution and self-preservation skills. Protecting personal information is vital to protecting a child from becoming victimized.” from the Online Solicitation of Children – Council on Sex Offender Treatment, A Report Regarding the Use of the Internet to Facilitate the Commission of Sex Crimes Including Recommendations for Ensuring Child Safety September 1, 2006 Page 15 & 16 Prepared for the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division Pursuant to Section 8, Senate Bill 912, 79th Regular Session, 2005.