He caught his daughter posting inappropriate videos. Now this father has a message for parents

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Screenshot of Musical.ly login page| Wikimedia Commons

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls father was recently having trouble sleeping so he decided to check up on his kids. Instead of finding his middle-school daughter in bed, he was shocked to find the 11-year-old sending inappropriate videos through a social media app.

“I saw her light was on and I walked into her room and she was sitting on the floor. She had on a pair of short-shorts, and her bra on, and I was like, ‘What the hell are you doing?'” C.G. said.

The man, who EastIdahoNews.com is not identifying in order to protect his daughter, said he has revoked all of her social media privileges after he discovered many videos like the one she was making.

She was posting them to Musical.ly – an app that allows users to create music videos while dancing, singing or lip-synching. Users have a host of followers and post songs to a feed which viewers can like. Users can also send private messages to others using the app.

He said he initially didn’t see anything wrong with the program, but after looking into it further he found teenage boys and possibly older men soliciting his daughter for inappropriate music videos.

“One of them was asking her to send nude ones, which I’m glad that she didn’t. She’s smarter than that, but still the fact (is) that it’s happening,” C.G. said.

Although the situation may sound common among teens, and now “tweens” or pre-teens, the social media applications in which kids are misusing continue to diversify.

“There’s hundreds of young girls on there doing the same stuff. It’s sickening. Just something I guess that parents need to be aware of,” C.G. said.

Screenshot of a YouTube tutorial | Youtube user Baby Ariel

Musical.ly, which launched in 2014, is described on the Itunes preview as,”The world’s largest creative platform. The platform makes it super easy for everyone to make awesome videos and share with friends or to the world.”

As a phone user looks into the small print, they’ll find the app is suggested for children who are at least 12 years and older. The app may contain material with infrequent to mild alcohol, tobacco, or drug use or references to mature/suggestive themes, profanity, crude humor, sexual content, nudity and cartoon or fantasy violence.

CommonSenseMedia.org, a non-profit designed to help kids and empower parents by providing unbiased information on media an technology, suggests the app is suited for children at least 16 years of age.

It gives the application a three out of five rating for suggestive, or sexual material, and a four out of five rating for inappropriate language. The higher the rating the more questionable material can be found on the application.

The Idaho Falls Father, along with local law enforcement, urges parents to look deeper into what children are doing on their phones.

“Selfies and videos of a provocative nature or nudity is something we’ve dealt with on numerous occasions. It very often leads to bullying, extortion, revenge and the cultivating of predators,” Bonneville County Sheriff Spokesman Bryan Lovell said. “It’s a crime to be in possession of, distribute or solicit naked images of juveniles.”

Screenshot of a YouTube tutorial | Youtube user iHasCupquake

Lovell reminds phone users that once a photo is sent it almost never goes away.

“Those images are nearly impossible to get back before they get shared and passed around, which victimizes the person in the picture every time it’s shared. Even if the person in the picture is a willing participant, there is no guarantee that it will be kept from the internet or erased after a period of time,” Lovell said.

He also said applications like Snapchat claim that images are only up for a short amount of time and then deleted. He says it only takes a second for someone to take a screenshot and it can then be shared everywhere.

“Parents should keep a close eye on everything their children are doing as it pertains to the internet and research the constant changing of social media platforms and websites out there. Paying close attention to security and privacy settings on your devices, changing your passwords frequently, and watching your bank accounts for suspicious activity, are must do basics for everyone in your household,” Lovell said.

C.G. said he feels at fault for not paying more attention to the activity on his daughter’s device. He said he has taken steps to make sure he is notified every time any of his children attempt to download an application.

“All the parents need to watch their kids more,” C.G. said.

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