- Online grooming is increasing each year according to police sex crimes expert
- Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said predators use social media apps
- An A Current Affair investigation highlighted the dangers of online messaging
- Predators are luring children on apps such as Kik Messenger and SnapChat
More than 100 predators and paedophiles have been arrested this year for trying to groom children online and the problem is only getting worse.
Commander of the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said predators are lurking on messaging apps aimed at children.
An A Current Affair investigation has found just how quickly online predators are luring children on messaging apps and websites to meet in real life.
Just seconds after logging in on number one messaging app Kik Messenger the reporter is contacted by a user asking if they are a boy or a girl.
After letting the stranger know she is female they immediately asks what he believes to be a teen girl if they ‘want to see his ****’.
Predators and paedophiles are luring children on social media and messaging apps
Paedophiles parading as children and teenagers are asking kids to send explicit photos of themselves
‘Sex offenders will actually go on particular sites that are aimed at children and ultimately they will leave their home to meet the child for the purpose of having sex,’ Detective Superintendent Howlett said.
While apps with location services, such as SnapChat, are beneficial for parents to know where their child is, sex offenders can ‘use those maps to track a child’.
Parents are urged to keep an eye on their children’s online activities, and experts are also warning to check their privacy and location settings within apps.
Commander of the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said predators are lurking on messaging apps aimed at children
Apps with location services, such as SnapChat, can be used by sex offenders to ‘track a child’
The maps are able to pinpoint your location down to the street address
Cyber safety expert Ross Bark explained SnapChat users should enable the ‘ghosting’ feature to ensure their location isn’t public.
‘That’s extremely scary, it’s basically saying here I am, come and get me,’ he said.
‘People are waiting there literally to pounce on these young children.’
Sonya Ryan, whose daughter Carly was murdered by a man she met online in 2007, said it’s important for parents to know what their children are doing.
Carly was 15 years old when she began talking to a boy named Brandon, who she thought was 18 and a musician.
Carly Ryan was murdered in 2007 after meeting a paedophile who she thought was an 18 year old boy
He was in fact a 50 year old paedophile named Gary Newman, parading as a teenager for 18 months while talking to Carly about her life and family.
Once Sonya began to suspect that Brandon was a predator, she banned Carly from talking to him and took her phone.
‘But it was too late, he already had his hooks in her,’ she said.
When Carly decided to meet up with Brandon, she told her mum she was going to a sleepover at a friend’s house.
Sonya Ryan, whose daughter Carly was murdered by a man she met online in 2007, said it’s important for parents to know what their children are doing
Tragically, she met Gary Newman instead, who murdered her and dumped her body in a river.
‘The fact that Gary Newman was able to manipulate her in that way and that she did go and meet him without telling me absolutely shocked me to the core,’ Ms Ryan said.
Of the 3.7 billion online users in the world, 750,000 are child predators, according to A Current Affair.
Detective Superintendent Howlett said the number of person arrested each year for online grooming is increasing.
‘Tragically, they can sit in the comfort of their own lounge room and groom five, 10, 15 children at one time,’ she said.