Parents Should Monitor Kids' Phones: Police

Capabilities of smartphones may lead to dangerous scenarios

By Diana Guevara
|  Tuesday, May 29, 2012  |  Updated 9:27 PM PDT
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Police discuss how children are using smartphones and Facebook to talk with strangers. Detective Damian Jackson with the Escondido Police Department says too many parents underestimate their child's technological skills

Police discuss how children are using smartphones and Facebook to talk with strangers. Detective Damian Jackson with the Escondido Police Department says too many parents underestimate their child's technological skills

With the popularity of smartphones, kids are now using them to outsmart their parents.

Police say dating sites accessible to children are now a dime a dozen, and accessible through a simple Google search.

"You can post photos of anything, anything explicit," said Damian Jackson with the Escondido Police Department. "As long as you can set up a Facebook account, you can access any of these sites."

Sites like Skout.com, where Escondido police say a 12-year-old girl connected with 24-year-old Christopher Nutt. Nutt now faces a list of felony charges, including sex with a minor.

Jackson said too many parents underestimate their child's technological capacity. And with growing popularity of smartphones, checking their Facebook isn't enough.

"They're all linked up to GPS they all have location services available to where anything you do you're automatically importing your own personal data into that" Jackson said.

This capability leaves the web wide open, to where anything could happen to anyone -- at any age.

"They entice them, they lure them in," Jackson said. "It's a grooming process. [It] will ultimately lead up to that child saying you know I'm gonna sneak out of the house and meet up with that person and come to realize that it's not the person that they intended to get together with."

Again, police say it's not just the home computer you should check.

You should also be monitoring your child's cellphone.

One tip Escondido police have given parents is to "friend" them or "like" the police department's page on their child's Facebook. They say it helps keep the predators away.

 

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