AG warns parents of predators exploiting popular teen app - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

AG warns parents of predators exploiting popular teen app

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(WMC) -

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is issuing a new warning about a popular app that's being used to exploit children.

We are living in the age of technology where some of our youngest children have access to cellphones and tablets.

Law enforcement said predators are also on some of today's popular apps, exposing children to disturbing images.

The app Musical.ly has 200 million registered users. It burst onto the scene in 2014, allowing users called "musers," to sing or lip-synch to songs and post the short videos on social media.

But now, the app popular with teens and tweens comes with a warning from Rutledge and other law enforcement across the county.

Officials said there have been reported instances of predators contacting kids through the app's messaging feature, asking for explicit photos.

“These children have no idea how fast and how quick things can turn on them,” grandparent Ron Archer said. “They are not experienced enough to understand all the things that happen in this world.”

Just this week, Archer warned his 11-year-old granddaughter about the dangers that lurk on social media if she's not careful.

It's why Archer keeps tabs on what his granddaughter is doing online and on her phone.

“You are preying on absolute youth and innocence,” Archer said. “You were just decimating these children out here. They won't have a chance they don't have a chance to grow up and be a child anymore.”

Investigators found users can also enter code words into the app that bring up sexually explicit content. Predatory users are able to manipulate keywords and hashtags to create secret groupings of videos.

“They are just lured so easily nowadays,” parent Carolyn Young said. “I mean when we were growing up, we didn't have to deal with such things.”

Musical.ly discourages people under 13 from creating an account. The app also offers resources on internet privacy and cyberbullying. Still, parents are asked to be vigilant.

“It's a shame, isn't it?” Archer said. “That children cannot be children without worrying about something happening to them all the time.”

Parents are urged to utilize parental control apps that help to monitor and control what kids are doing on their phones.

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