SPECIAL REPORT: Hazards of Hook Up Apps

LANSING - There used to be a time when romance was a time-consuming process. But for some of today's multi-tasking millennials, it's more like where or when. With names like TINDER, DOWN, and PURE, smartphone apps with GPS make finding someone to hook up with as simple as a swipe of the phone. So what should you do if your teenager is using them?

Detective Annie Harrison is concerned about it.

" As a detective I investigate child sexual abuse cases and unfortunately, teens meet somebody through an app such as this thinking it could be a same age classmate and then it's not. It could be a registered sex offender or another adult that is using these types of apps to meet children" she says.

Christine Greenhow is a professor at MSU who specializes in teens and social media; she says parental communication is critical. "There is an anonymity that arises with these apps now on Facebook. Most teens know who they are friending so they almost never friend strangers, but with these online dating apps, it's looking outside of your familiar people that can be so appealing to find the girl of your dreams." she warns.

Joe Thorn works at Mac Men and knows computers and smart phones. He is also a dad. He suggests parents use the same iCloud account where only they have the password. Store owner Ben Barry says there is also an app called Maxx Spy that tracks everything on the users smartphone.

Detective Harrison has a message for parents "There is a real danger when these apps are in the hands of teenagers or children. What I would want the parents to know, the take away from this, is be aware of what type of application your teen or child is using and monitor them. I want the teens to know predators use this app to pose as people they are not - and I want predators to know that law enforecement is aware they use these apps and that will not be tolerated and they will be prosecuted"



 
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