Mom Says 12-Year-Old Daughter Targeted by Predators on Popular Social Media App

Little girl sitting on sofa, playing with smartphone
iStock.com/Halfpoint

In the age of 15 minutes of fame and instant connections thanks to technology, it's no wonder why so many people feel comfortable sharing their lives on the Internet -- including children. But one mom is warning about the dangers of a popular broadcast app, Live.me, after she discovered men as old as 30 requesting compromising pics of her 12-year-old daughter.

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The Florida mom, who chooses to keep her family's identity anonymous, was completely clueless that her middle school-aged child was using an app that made both the 12-year-old's photos and her location known to the world. The mom tells WFLA News Channel 8 that after her daughter had been on the app for about two weeks, she found out male users -- as old as 30 -- had asked for compromising photos of the tween in exchange for virtual coins and other rewards.

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"I found pictures of my child in her underwear taking a selfie and I went to question her about it and she explained to me why those pictures were there," the unnamed mother reveals to WFLA. "And she told me about the app."

Scary, right?!

If you aren't hip to the wiles of Live.me, it's a live broadcast community with cool features -- like game streaming, meeting online stars, and collecting coins to earn gifts and rewards -- where people can "make new friends" and captivate the masses with their own live-streamed videos.

Live.me app
Live.me/Google Play

It's so popular, it's been downloaded an estimated 10 million times. But, as always, popularity doesn't necessarily mean the app is safe to use.

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Sadly, what happened to this Florida mom and daughter is not an isolated incident. A Colorado mom and dad also said Live.me users threatened their 9-year-old daughter's well-being, sending messages about how "they know where she lives, they're going to hack her into pieces, and they're going to kill her family," CBS Denver 4 News reports. 

And the disturbing revelations did not stop there, as mom Venessa also found an hour-long video stream that started with her 9-year-old playing with arts and crafts and ended with the child removing her clothes. 

"She would be like, 'No, I'm not doing that,'" mom Venessa reveals to CBS Denver. "She kept reading the messages, and she'd be like, 'Why do you want me to take my shirt off? No, I'm not doing that.' By the end of the video my daughter was naked."

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As parents, we're our children's first line of defense against online predators. That makes the task of keeping up with technology extremely important. With all the apps and programs children can download with the click of a button, no mom or dad is going to be aware of every single one, and that's where the village comes in.

For months, moms and dads have been sounding off about the dangers of Live.me on the Common Sense Media website in an effort to warn other parents. With reviews calling the app a "pedophile's paradise" and "unfiltered and dangerous," it's clear people are not holding back.

"This app is very dangerous for children. It is full of pedophiles and child porn," one commenter wrote. "There are thousands of older men on the app that talk children into taking [their] clothes off and doing inappropriate things. And when these kids get banned, [their] videos stay on their profile for anyone to view."

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"I just looked at my 11-year-old daughter's phone and on there was a predator asking her to send him some videos of her for money," another dad revealed. "They actually said they would direct her on what they wanted her to do!"

The things parents say they've seen on this app are particularly disturbing, especially because the app also broadcasts users' locations. Chip Wells, a St. Petersburg police officer, reminds WFLA news and parents of the importance of checking apps for the sake of a child's safety -- including those with geotagging capabilities. "We're moving closer and closer to where all of the apps are starting to have some type of GPS location," Officer Wells notes. "Parents need to know how to go into settings on every app they have and turn these things off."

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