STUART, Fla. -- The FBI is still searching for a Palm Beach Gardens teacher, Corey Perry, wanted on child pornography charges.
Law enforcement officers fear Perry used students in the pornography, and may have obtained the images through the internet, phones, or through smart phone apps.
It has some parents taking an interest in learning about the ways someone can contact their children.
Cpl. Bryan Broughton, with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit, spoke to about a dozen parents Monday night at Redeemer Lutheran School in Stuart about online safety.
Broughton knows technology changes faster than many parents can keep up with.
Nowadays, Broughton explained there are apps designed just for helping teens hide pictures, conversations and videos. For example, some appear to look like a calculator, and function as a calculator, but also allow someone to secretly store content.
“I think most parents think if they’re looking at text messaging and photo roll, and judging their child by that content, they think they’re okay. But, many children are using third party apps to communicate with their friends,” Broughton said.
Parents like Anthony Afong want to be able to spot something suspicious on their children’s devices.
“The majority of [the apps] I have never heard of, especially the secret ones,” Afong said.
He has two children, one in elementary school and one in high school.
“I’ve been policing my children’s devices more lately,” Afong said.
That’s what Broughton wants them to do. He also wants parents to make sure their children know who they’re talking to.
He explained predators can easily fake their identification, and coerce them to send pictures and videos.
Sometimes, a predator will obtain one inappropriate picture and threaten to post it if they do not receive more photos or videos from the child, Broughton explain.
“Sometimes you don’t know who you’re talking to, so if you take that chance and share that inappropriate picture with someone , that someone may be a predator and then you might have a situation like what we have in Palm Beach.”
Broughton also urged parents to closely watch gaming devices and phones, more so than computers, as children and teens tend to communicate through those devices more frequently.
Parents can also use parental controls on most smart phones to limit what content their children have access to, and what content strangers can see about their children.