Police warn of teens targeted by online predators, as Delphi murders shift focus to fake online profile

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 7:26 PM EST
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South Bend, Ind. (WNDU) - In a time where the majority of socializing is done on social media, police are warning parents of teens being targeted online.

“When I talk to kids, I always say why do would we have FBI, and U.S. Marshals and Homeland Security working on a problem if it was a itty-bitty problem. This is a huge problem,” Indiana State Police Internet Crimes Against Children expert Cathie Bledsoe says.

It is a rising problem that could now be connected behind a fake social media profile that could be the key to the solving the Delphi murders.

“Whether Delphi turns out to have a cyber base connection or not, this is something that can happen to anyone’s kids,” Bledsoe says.

In fact, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are now over 100 million sexual exploitation images of children online.

The FBI says on any given day, 800,000 child predators are online looking for kids.

A number St. Joseph County Detective Jason Koski says is far too high to have any teen’s online activity unsupervised.

“We don’t know who is behind the other screen. No one knows who is behind the other screen. There is digital platforms that parents can actually monitor their kids activity that they are doing on their laptops, tablets and iPhones,” Koski says.

On Tuesday, Instagram announced new features that will help make the photo sharing app a safer place for teens.

“Every app a child uses, every game, every software, comes with a terms of service and that’s a legally binding contract. The kid cannot actually agree to that contract. So he (or she) is acting in the leu of his parents. So the parents are legally and financially responsible for what kids are doing online. We need to be active participants in their lives. We gave our children the most powerful tool, the greatest creation of all time and no protection and no instruction. Now, we have to back peddle,” Bledsoe says.

For more tips on how to monitor your kid’s online activity, you can visit the United States Department of Justice website, FBI — Advice on Keeping Kids Safe Online, or click here.

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