Law enforcement warn parents of predators on new social media app

Local News

CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKRN) – Law enforcement in Christian County are warning parents of a social media app gaining popularity that may be putting children in potential danger.

They say several young teens have been contacted by older men on the app already.

It’s called ‘Amino.’ It’s a social network app for smartphones allowing people to connect through common interests and topics.

Christian County deputies say it checks all the boxes for potential predators: community, comments, text and audio chats, pictures, and personal profiles.

“If I’m a predator, if I am someone who’s trying to stalk an individual online, I just have to know a little bit about them, what their interests are, I can really weasel my way into their life, via this app, via this smartphone, and that’s the scary thing about it,” said Deputy Chris Miller.

It started as an app for anime enthusiasts for K-Pop and photography.

Now, it includes hundreds of topics and chats accessible to anyone with a smartphone ages 12 and up.

“We received some complaints from parents via the school, that discovered their children were getting contacted by older males, this happened to be some female students that were basically just kind of asking what we like to call ‘phishing questions’: Where do you go to school? Where do you live? What are your interests?’ and things like that,” Miller explained.

He says it’s always a game of catch up with technology.

“This is how kids communicate, so social media, internet chats, IM’s text messages,” he said, “We didn’t have that problem, we’re trying to catch up as older people, trying to catch up with the technology that’s coming out now, so the problem is is that because they communicate this way… It can leave them open to people that have bad intentions.”

Miller adds that they would rather put together warnings than search warrants

“A lot of times we find now more than ever, those crimes have some type of social media element involved in those crimes,” he said, “And we have to get search warrants for different social media platforms, text messages, IM’s…”

He suggests parents and guardians check their child’s phone every so often… see what apps they’re on — what photos they’re sharing and who they’re messaging.

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