Deputies update list of apps predators may use to target children

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WSVN) — The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has put out a list of mobile applications which may be putting children at risk.

After a sting where deputies arrested 25 online predator suspects, the sheriff’s office updated a list of applications they said predators may use to target children.

The list, which was at nine, has now grown to include 15 applications.

  • Bumble: It’s similar to the popular dating app, Tinder. However, it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
  • Snapchat: It’s one of the most popular apps of 2018. While the app promises users can send a photo or video and it will disappear, recent features allow users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location.
  • Kik: This app allows anyone to contact and direct message your child, sometimes anonymously. Kids sometimes use Kik to bypass traditional text messaging features. Kik gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  • LiveMe: This live-streaming video app uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn coins within the app and use them as a way to pay minors for photos.
  • Holla: The app’s makers admit it’s an “addicting” video chat app. It allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content and more.
  • Whisper: This is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user’s location so people can meet up.
  • Ask.fm: This app has become known for cyberbullying. The app encourages users to allow people to anonymously ask them questions.
  • Calculator%: This is one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
  • Hot or Not: This app encourages users to rate other users’ profiles, with the focus on physical appearance. It also allows users to check out people in their area and chat with strangers. The sheriff says the goal of this app is to “hook up.”
  • MEETME: This app is a dating social media app that allows users to connect with people based on their location.
  • Grindr: This app is targeted towards gay, bisexual and transgender people, and it gives users the options to chat, share photos and meet up based on your smartphone’s location.
  • Skout: Another location-based dating app and website. Users under the age of 17 are not allowed to share private photos. However, kids can easily create an account using a different age.
  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp is a very popular messaging app that allows users to send messages, photos, voicemails , and users can make phone calls and video calls worldwide.
  • TikTok: TikTok allows users to create and share short videos. However, the app has limited privacy controls and users are vulnerable to cyberbullying and explicit content.
  • Badoo: Badoo is a dating and social networking app where users can chat, share photos and videos and connect based on location. The app is meant for adults, but officials said teens are known to create profiles.

Detectives recommend that parents speak to their children and ensure they understand the dangers of being online and meeting with strangers.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.