A warning to parents; a Smartphone app was used to lure a teen into human trafficking.
Six men and one woman arrested in St. Petersburg, FL are accused of sexually exploiting two teens. At least one of the suspects used a gaming app called ‘Discord’.
The app is meant for gamers to help strategize. But, with just one touch, you can start immediately talking to strangers.
Pinellas County deputies say the app ‘Discord’ worries them too. It is most popular for audio communication, and because kids and teens can actually speak with strangers, deputies say it could lead young adults to more easily trust the person they’re talking to.
Derek Hopkins is a Discord app user who goes by the pseudonym ‘Eastern Wizard’ and uses the app to connect with other Pokemon players. But, he says he can see how kids could be lured into bad channels inside the app.
He warns, “Be careful of [users] you haven’t heard of before or ones with low membership.”
Deputies say because the communication on the Discord app is in real time, tracking down any criminal activity is nearly impossible.
That’s why they say it’s important that parents and even video game store employees like Frank Wood become the first line of defense, educating kids about the dangers of seemingly innocent apps turning into targets for predators.