Police call 'Snapchat' app perfect for child sex predators

Kids lured by getting 'likes'

SAN DIEGO - A relatively new app is perfect for sexual predators and police want parents to know about it. It is called Snapchat.

The app is promoted to kids as a way to share moments with friends. Kids who know better than to share pictures of themselves with strangers are using this app to do just that.
Snapchat lets the user post photos that are deleted in a matter of seconds.
Fifty million "snaps" are shared every day.

It is easy to use. Just take a picture of yourself, and that is called "selfie." Then the user selects how long someone can see it, anywhere from two to 10 seconds.

"It's like a creeper's dream, pretty much," said one boy who used it.
"We've seen adult genitalia, we've seen naked females… and they're just popping up," said Detective Mike Harris who is with the Jefferson County District Attorney's office in Colorado.
The app works on smartphones, iPads, iPods and iPod touches.
From grade school to high school, kids say they are lured by getting "likes" on Snapchat. In a recent gathering of children using the app, one child was impressed that someone else's picture got 30 likes.
Even kids who know better said they bend the rules.
"We're behind the curve learning it where these kids are making mistakes but also where predators are using these apps and sites to go after our kids," said Harris.
Predators take a screenshot before the photo disappears and that is how they can save it forever. Snapchat notifies users if someone takes a screenshot before the picture is gone, but by then, it is too late. The predator already has the child's picture.

Print this article Back to Top