Authorities caution parents about popular chat app - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Authorities caution parents about popular chat app

A screen shot of the app. Source: WBRC video A screen shot of the app. Source: WBRC video

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -The Whisper App is another way people can connect using their smart device. Users can anonymously post pictures and chat with fellow ‘whisperers.'   

"It's very convenient for the predators because they don't have to be who they say they are," explained Lt. Mike Yarborough with the Jefferson County Sherriff's Office.

In early October, detectives near Seattle, Wa. say the person accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl admitted to using Whisper to communicate with the victim. Whisper hasn't come up in any cases at the Jefferson County Sheriff's office, but, the use of social apps by predators is not uncommon.

"Cases that come to us dealing with child pornography. Molesters, things like that; they usually come through social media," added Lt. Yarborough.

He recommends keeping watch on the apps kids download. One easy way to do this is to use a family account to download from app stores. Only the parents should have the password and that way downloads can only be done with the parents consent.  

"If a child wants an app, the parent should approve the app first. To do that, the parent should find out exactly what the app is for, find out the age limit is on it."

One feature Yarbrough says to watch out for is the use of passwords. Some apps,  like Whisper, require a pin to look through the history.

"If they have an app that has a username or password, make sure you have that username or password. You should have access to everything they do and everyone thy talk to. "

Another feature Yarborough says parents should watch out for  are apps that share location information, which Whisper can do. Yarbrough says that just makes it easier for  predators to contact underage teens and kids that are close by.  

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