SAPD: Social media makes it easier for online predators

- The constant use of phones and social media is almost inevitable these days, giving online predators a better opportunity to pursue your teen.

Texting, facebook, twitter...and online chat rooms are at your teenager’s finger tips that are opening doors for online predators. Social media on phones is forefront of how predators can pray on your kids.

San Angelo Police Lt. Mike Hernandez couldn't agree more that social media is making it easier for predators.

He says, "When a predator is looking for a victim. They are basically looking for that information to hook that teenager. If you are telling them your favorite color, where you live, your favorite restaurant to eat at, those types of things. Low and behold this person starts to tell you. ‘hey those are my favorite things too.’"

We sat down with 15 year old San Angelo resident, Brandon Bradley who pretty much fits the bill when it comes to teenagers not seeing the red flag when it comes to social networking apps.

Bradley admits, "Yes I have added a person I don know."

Bradley says he stays up all night chatting on his phone with who ever.

"I just chat with people who pop up on there and whoever sends me a friend request and everything."

Kaitlin Moore, KLST Reporter, says, "A recent study shows that 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offender used the victim's social networking site to gain information about them.”

Bradley admitted that he has hardly been educated on sexual online predators at school and at home. It was not until after i stated this statistic that Brandon said he should be more careful.

Brandon says, "I should be more cautious."

Brandon's mother occasionally checks his phone and facebook, but doesn't think much about this possibly happening to her son.

His mother says, "I thought i was really good about my daughter. You know but I really haven't paid much attention when it comes to him because he is older.

Lt. Hernandez also says parents and teenagers make the big mistake of thinking they can't be a victim.

Lt. Hernandez explains, "This is happening everyday everywhere. They can be a victim when they are putting all their information out there in real time and then over sharing their information."

SAPD offers education opportunities for teens, teachers, and parents through the community services and social media programs.

For more information about ...Online predators-- call the San Angelo Police Department Social Media Program at 325- 657-4331.

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