Anonymous Chat Apps Could Put Kids in Danger: Police

If you want to chat online and share your secrets with a stranger there are mobile apps to fit your need. But police say apps that are marketed as anonymous conversation platforms could put your children at risk from predators.

“No one on social media is anonymous,” said cyber security consultant Rich Wistocki.

Wistocki, who recently retired from the Naperville Police Department, said he worked a case in which a man allegedly tried luring a teenage girl through the Whisper app.

“Predators are gonna go where the kids are,” Wistocki said.

In fact, police in Pennsylvania are searching for a man accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl he met through a social media app. Police say the victim met the suspect on the Whisper app after she thought she was talking to a teen boy and invited him over.

But when the suspect arrived at the teen girl’s Haverford Township home on April 22, police said the man sexually assaulted her in the home before running off.

Whisper is currently helping police with the investigation.

Wistocki said children who don’t have wireless enabled devices can still download appsa through Wi-Fi. He said parents must be empowered to inspect their children’s mobile devices.

“Parents need to understand they are responsible for their kids’ technology,” Wistocki said. “They can take it away and look at it any time they want. That’s the law.”

A Whisper spokesperson told the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia the app is rated 17+ and is blocked when parental controls are enabled.

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