Mid-South mom says chat website is dangerous for children - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South mom says chat website is dangerous for children

(WMC-TV) – A Mid-South mother recently made a shocking discovery inside her daughter's bedroom: her 12-year-old daughter, naked, talking to a man on a webcam.

We're calling the mother 'Mary' to protect her identity. Mary says she is a strict parent who monitors her daughter's every move, so she wasn't prepared for what happened last month, when her child went behind closed doors and logged on to her computer.

"I walked upstairs and opened her door and I see her standing in her room exposed, and I see the body of a male adult who is masturbating," she said.

The website, Omegle, allows you to talk anonymously to randomly selected strangers with a choice of text or webcam chat. Mary says her daughter found out about the site from a friend who came over a couple of nights earlier.

"I asked her what had happened when the friend came over, and she said that they had exposed their breasts," Mary said. "I asked her why, and she said that the person on the other end had made them feel guilty, told them they were lonely and pretty, and much guilted them into showing their breasts."

Mary, who has a background in law enforcement, decided to do her own investigation. First, she set up her room to look like a kid's room. Then, she got on the website. She didn't show her face on camera, but still it didn't take long for someone to start chatting with her.

Transcripts of some of the chats show a person begging Mary to get in front of the webcam, saying, "I want to see ur sexy body please."

"I couldn't believe it," Mary said. "Eight out of ten clicks that I did immediately came up with a male masturbating - an adult masturbating."

"I have filters on my internet, parental controls, everything, but the site comes through," she added.

Police officer Doug Gallucio agrees. Gallucio heads up an internet crimes against children task force. Omegle was new to Gallucio, who was disturbed by the number of men exposing themselves to kids on webcams.

"I don't know what it is, but they have some kind of gift or talent that can get kids to do things that they want," he said.

Even worse, according to Gallucio, is that it's possible Mary's daughter was recorded when she exposed herself online.

"It's possible it could appear on an adult porn site," he said.

Gallucio says old-fashioned parental snooping is the best protection from sites like these.

"They need to have complete control of where their children are going, where their computers are, keeping their computers in a common room," he said.

Investigators say shutting down the site may be impossible, because offenders on the site have to be tracked on a case-by-case basis.

Mary reported the site to the FBI and her state attorney general's office.

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