Predators using live streaming apps to take advantage of younger children

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pasco County Sheriff’s office is working multiple cases where kids under the age of 10 were solicited online to perform sex acts.

Detectives with the Pasco County Cyber Crimes Unit say predators try to take advantage of any app that has live streaming capability.

Monica Stanton is a mother of two boys, ages 11 and 12. She worries daily about keeping her kids safe on their phones and online.

“Being a parent to this generation of them, first, just having the smart phones, you don’t really know what to do so you’re constantly looking for information on how to parent a child with a smart phone.”

While she’s constantly looking for safety measures, predators are constantly looking for new ways to target kids.

“We’ve seen an increase in young children using live streaming apps and kind of being lured in and solicited sometimes by other kids their age, but also adults as well from anything from sending nudity photos to actual sexual acts,” said Aaron Smith, a Pasco County detective.

It’s a sick reality for parents.

“Obviously, children can be very naive and can be very trusting,” said Stanton.

Predators know that and they’re taking advantage.

“We’re seeing younger and younger, mainly because these kids don’t understand what’s going on and what they’re being asked to do,” said Smith.

As for Stanton, she warns other parents to be one step ahead of your kids.

“I do have an app, Life 360, it lets me know everything he is doing on his phone,” said Stanton.

Detectives recommend Google Family Link. It’s another app that is helpful and you can control everything on your child’s phone right from your phone.

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