U.S. Attorney Warns Parents About Social Media and App Dangers

ROGERS, Ark. (KFSM) -- Parents are being warned of new dangers surrounding kids growing up in a generation full of technology.

Dak Kees, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, held a town hall style meeting Sunday (Oct. 13) addressing topics like cyber-bullying and online sexual predators.

Kees said new applications come and go extremely quickly in recent years making it difficult for parents and law enforcement to keep track of what kids are using.

"Usually when I talk to parents about this they are blown away by what's out there and what's possibly on their children's phone," Kees said.

During the meeting, Kees listed numerous phone apps and explained how they can make children more vulnerable to sexual predators, even on commonly used sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"These apps the vast majority of the time, I'm sure, are used for legitimate purposes. But they are used as tools for sexual predators to reach our children," Kees said.

Most social networking websites use some form of geo-tagging to track the location of their subscribers. Kees said by using geo-tags, strangers can determine your child's exact location from something as simple as a social media post.

Amy Jones is a local mother and said with the growing digital age it's hard to keep up with what websites or applications are popular.

"I mean, I'm on Facebook all the time and I'm sure one day there will be something cooler than Facebook," She said.

Kees said it is extremely important for parents to stay on top of what their kids download.

"You have to be engaged," Kees said. "You have to be keeping up with the apps and talk to your kids. Ask them 'Hey, I heard about this new app. What does it do?' and if your child can talk intelligently about that app that's probably a good indication they have used that app."

Jones said she does not allow her young son to have technology yet, but as he grows up she knows it's a conversation she will have to have.

"I'm going to have to get in to it even though I dread it because you can't avoid it. Technology is a part of our lives," Jones said.


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