Crimewatch: Apps helps prevent kids from sexting - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Crimewatch: Apps helps prevent kids from sexting

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There is an explosion of children making pornography and sharing it on the internet. FOX 7 first brought you the story of how Austin police are trying to raise awareness on this disturbing trend last month. Now, one parent is using technology to help keep her kids and yours, safe.

One Direction's hit song, "Live While We're Young" seems to describe how teens are going crazy, crazy, crazy sharing pictures and videos of themselves. Many are candid and racy.

An increasingly popular platform for this is an application called Snapchat. It lets the user send pictures or videos and deletes them in 10 seconds. That is, unless someone takes a screen shot. Then the app alerts the user.

"A lot of the kids have a false sense of security involving this program and similar programs in that they don't perceive any of the images as permanent. At some point in time, they're wiped from the site but what they don't understand, how quickly images can be copied, right clicked and saved to desktop and then it can be emailed, posted, texted," said APD Detective Joel Pridgeon.

Detective Pridgeon investigates child porn cases. He says he's seen a jump in sexting among children. He's also seen an increase of children making porn which triggered a new fetish among predators. There's now a group of them who only wants porn made by children. It may sound scary but Pridgeon says the more frightening aspect is that not enough parents care.

"No people aren't worried enough about this. People honestly think children can monitor themselves," Pridgeon said.

He's not talking about Nathalie Kloss-Biagini.

"Being a mother myself and a parent, not just about protecting my own kids but about protecting everyone's kids," said Kloss-Biagini.

Kloss-Biagini, mother of two is passionate about keeping children safe online. She founded texaschildsafety.com.

She tells us about one of her favorite tools, abeanstalk.com. It alerts parents when their kids are involved in sexting and other risky behaviors. All you have to do is enter your child's cell phone number, all their social media user names and passwords. Enter words or phrases you don't want your child talking about and wait for the text or email alerts.

Kloss-Biagini says she got involved when she met a father with a chilling story about his 14-year-old son who wasn't supposed to be on Facebook.

"He friended a 15-year-old boy seemingly, that was a lacrosse player who ended up being a 40-year-old pedophile and the pedophile came after the boy and the last text on the boy's phone was, that's ok, I'll just come get you," Kloss-Biagini said.

Fortunately the father stepped in before anything happened. Kloss-Biagini says if there's ever an issue like this, abeanstalk.com exports logs directly to police, immediately. They don't wait for a subpoena like other sites like Facebook. The law allows them 30 days to turn evidence over to police.

How safe do you think kids are while playing games on line?

"Online gaming is easily the number one form of social networking that is overlooked because people think of gaming and typically think of it as a single player affair but don't understand that the top selling games that are on the market right now have a multi-player aspect and that means you go online and interact with other people," Pridgeon said.

Kloss-Biagini says every week, she goes over the list of players her son interacts with on Xbox LIVE.

"He tells me who everyone is. If I don't know who they are, he deletes them," Kloss-Biagini said.

Kloss-Biagini says research shows teens' frontal lobes aren't developed enough to discern the dangers of impulsive communications. That's why parents still need to be parents even though teens don't like it.

"I don't do anything bad, I mean, we just need freedom sometimes," said 17-year-old Crockett High School Senior, Esmeralda Razo.

Texting, hopping on social media, and interacting with the world without ever opening their mouths.

"It's a part of me. Like yesterday I lost my charger and it was horrible. It was bad, my phone died," said 18-year-old Crockett High School Senior Angie Kidwell.

Experts say children are proficient with technology, calling them digital natives where adults are digital immigrants.

"The internet is the air that we breathe and so therefore so is social networking. It is pervasive in every point of our live style and doubly so in the life of an adolescent," Pridgeon said.

He says that's why it's crucial to set up rules for all devices, desktop, mobile, and websites. 

Because if you're not watching your kid, he states, "the kids are just being kids, they're just doing so in a different format than we were when we were kids."

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