Bunnell, FL - With the school holiday break, many children have time on their hands to get in trouble online. Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly is reminding parents to monitor that activity after a concerned parent reported finding messages between an 11-year-old girl and a 39-year-old man from North Carolina. It appeared that the man was going to travel to Florida to pick the girl up and take her back to North Carolina to live with him.
Staly said that conversation began on an online gaming phone application called "Wildcraft." He says the app made it possible for direct communication between the girl and the man as well as several other children playing the game. FCSO Major Case detectives were able to identify and contact the man in North Carolina. No arrests have been made but the investigation continues.
“Parents, this highlights the importance of monitoring your children’s online and cell phone communication on a routine and daily basis,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Technology is continually evolving and predators are adept at using the evolving technology to target and manipulate children. If parents are allowing their children to have access to the internet or mobile devices, they must talk with their children about the dangers involved and take the time to monitor their children’s activity. It is necessary to keep them safe. Be proactive in your child’s life. Using monitoring apps and talking to your children may save them from being a victim.”
There are several monitoring applications available to help parents keep track of what their children are doing online. Staly says while he does not endorse one over the others, there are several to choose from, including Bark, Net Nanny, and Securly. These apps, along with others, are offered in the App Store and on Google Play.
You can find a list of some of the most dangerous apps of 2019 at educateempowerkids.org